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Washington Post columnist Brian Krebs is reporting that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is moving to shut down 136 Internet pharmacy web sites that have been selling counterfeit drugs or those not approved by the FDA.

The FDA office of criminal investigations has sent warning letters to the site operators and notified their ISPs that they were selling the pharmaceuticals illegally.

According to his column, the sites, which claim to be in the U.S. or Canada, are really in India and have connections to Russia. Those notified by the FDA are all affiliates of, one of dozens of pharmacy affiliate organizations. chiefly attracts customers to its sites by search engine optimization techniques.

There could be as many as 55,000 such pharmacies on the web.

Krebs column here.

Clearly this is a daunting task, going after all 55,000 sites. The FDA has joined the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and the FBI in this country in taking on the vast amount of Internet lawlessness and there seems to be motion in other countries as well.

Police in Estonia last month arrested some of the men indicted by an Atlanta, Ga., grand jury in the $9 million hack of credit-card processing vendor RBS. Police in Hong Kong and Netherlands also were part of the investigating team and helped arrest two people for withdrawing RBS WorldPay funds from ATMs in Hong Kong.

Also last month, the head of Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission announced the arrest of 18 scammers and shutdown of 800 email accounts they were using. She promised a continuing crackdown.

Tom Kelchner