back to article Nominet suspends fake pharma domains

Nominet, the .uk address registry, has suspended hundreds of internet domain names as part of a global police crackdown on crime gangs peddling fake pharmaceuticals. Operation Pangea IV saw almost 13,500 websites taken down and dozens of suspects arrested in 81 countries, according to Interpol, which coordinated the swoop. …


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  1. JimmyPage Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    Remind me again ...

    why the police wanted all those powers to suspend dodgy domains ... was it because the existing powers weren't enough ?

    1. jonathanb Silver badge

      I think it is because the existing process takes too long, giving the scammers plenty of time to milk the site and move onto the next one.

  2. Ian Stewart

    And when . . . .

    does this morph into political or other censorship?

    1. Rob Dobs

      New laws should cover that

      There should be new laws written in modern countries, so that Police can easily swoop in and shut down sites that deal in things like illegal gambling, pharma pills, kiddie porn and the like. (basically the cash flow for the mob and freak sites)

      However those same new laws should clearly spell out and state the rare and dangerous type of sites that they are allowed to go after, and should spell out the real and serious penalties (like Jail time, or loss of job) for that would abuse the system. And it wouldn't hurt to have a some group (that aren't cops themselves) reviewing the whole program now and then for compliance.

      Any kind of policing, or enforcement consists of some kind of censorship, the idea is to clearly spell out what it is they are allowed to censor, and ensure that the masses agree with it. Even further it should be reviewable, and able to be changed with a vote from the masses. So that if say for example people decide that off-market cancer drugs should be allowed to help save lives, they can vote for it and update the list what they law can go after.

      1. Richard 12 Silver badge

        No new laws are necessary or desirable for this.

        The existing legal framework is plenty.

        Exactly what do you think a new law is required to do?

        If an activity is illegal in the physical world then it's illegal online as well.

        So, no passing-off of real drugs for fake ones, no selling of controlled substances, no selling of pharmaceuticals without the appropriate training.

  3. Anonymous Coward

    Fake? or only "Potentially fake"?

    There are sites that keep the money and supply nothing. There may be sites that supply slightly remoulded and coloured rabbit droppings.

    There are also sites that supply genuine, effective drugs manufactured in one of the countries in the world that doesn't worry too much about patents and royalties. These sites may, or may not, be guilty of something, but "fake or potentially fake" is hogwash.

    Potentially damaging to the profits of big companies is more like the truth.

    Root out the criminals, by all means --- but let the world have its cheap viagra!

    And no, I don't have any personal interest: I live in one of the aforementioned countries, and if I wanted to buy, I'd only need to stroll as far as my local pharmacy. It probably wouldn't be blue, it definitely wouldn't say "pfizer," but I have no doubt that it would contain the right amount of the right chemical.

    Bracing myself for the downvotes. After all, the profitability of multinational pharma is the *important* thing, eh?

    1. Richard 12 Silver badge

      If your local pharma claims it's Viagra, then yes it is fake

      If you went down to your local pharmacy asked for 'Viagra' and got a pill containing Sildenafil Citrate, that trader is guilty of passing-off.

      If they said something like "We don't have Viagra, but this contains Sildenafil Citrate which is the active ingredient in Viagra", then it's genuine.

      - The manufacturer may be infringing a patent or licensing agreement depending on the local laws (usually a matter for the civil courts), however the retailer is fine.

      Much like a bartender can't give you Pepsi if you asked for Coke without saying "Is Pepsi ok?" or similar - letting you know that you're being offered a close approximation instead of the product you asked for. (If you ask for cola then they can give you any cola drink)

      Passing-off is a very serious thing - if you went down to your local shop and bought a "Blackberry" mobile phone that turned out to be an iPhone, you may well be annoyed. Even though they're both smartphones, they are very different to many consumers.

      Therefore the trader must always describe the product for what it is!

      - If a customer asks for a particular item, the trader may offer what they think is an equivalent but must describe it as being an equivalent.

    2. Franklin

      A title is required

      "There are also sites that supply genuine, effective drugs manufactured in one of the countries in the world that doesn't worry too much about patents and royalties. These sites may, or may not, be guilty of something, but "fake or potentially fake" is hogwash."

      Leaving aside for the moment that if something marketed as a brand-name drug is not in fact that brand-name drug, it's fake...

      Whether the drugs are real or not isn't, to me, the most important aspect. It's who's peddling them and where the money is going.

      It seems to me that nearly all of the drug pharma spammers and operators of dodgy pharma sites are Eastern European organized crime.

      Now, I don't know about you, but I for one am very skeptical about giving my money to organized crime. It doesn't matter if the drugs are real; the fact that they are distributed by crime syndicates who use hacking, malware, and other illegal tactics to spam their domains is enough in my book to avoid them.

      Plus, there's the little matter that I don't trust Eastern European organized crime to be worried overmuch about my health. Just because this particular batch of fake pharmaceuticals might actually be made with real ingredients doesn't mean the next batch will be.

      There's a certain mentality I've seen that says "The pharmaceutical companies are bad people, so it's OK that these little Internet vendors are sticking it to The Man!" The part that gets missed in that is that the people sticking it to The man are actually worse. (Many of the pharma spammers have their fingers in other pies as well, like malware and virus distribution, banking fraud, phish sites, and so on.)

      Don't let your hatred of Big Pharma blind you to the folks you're dealing with when you buy from pharma spammers.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I don't hate big pharma

        I'd be dead without it might be an exaggeration, but it has certainly done me a heap of good over the years.

        However, everything you say about your Eastern European criminals might well be true of the so-called-respectable purveyors too.

        There are many sides to this question. For a start, I have to admit that, without mnc pharmaceuticals, many of these chemicals might never have been discovered in the first place. And then again, we have to look at some of their ethics as regards testing and side effects.

        "Hatred" --- using words like that, when I had never expressed any, is just a manipulative trick of argument. Invalid and irrelevant. And recognised. You didn't get away with it.

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