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Fake Covid-19 Vaccines Demonstrate (Yet Again) the Threat of Importing Drugs

The Institute for Policy Innovation has long warned against individuals and state and local officials seeking to import prescription drugs that bypass the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s policies and oversight.
Such warnings sometimes go unheeded, most recently by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who is trying to create an importation scheme so Floridians can import prescription drugs from Canada—though no one is really sure that’s where the drugs will come from.
But the coronavirus pandemic and an unprecedented effort to develop a Covid-19 vaccine and distribute it across the globe have shined a spotlight on the problem: Criminals who seek to profit from the public’s fear by selling fake or compromised products that claim to be a Covid-19 vaccine or treatment.
Here is Europol’s recent announcement.
In April this year, Europol announced the potential harm of offline and online scams offering alleged versions of the COVID-19 vaccine. Projections were also made in relation to the announcement of a genuine vaccine and the reaction of organised [sic] crime to adapt its methods to meet demand.
These projections were later confirmed in Europol’s November report, where it was identified that the distribution of substandard and counterfeit pharmaceutical products, including preventative [sic] COVID-19 vaccines had remained a consistent pandemic-related criminal activity.
And here’s the FDA’s comments.
The FDA is working with vaccine and drug manufacturers to develop new vaccines for and find more drugs to treat COVID-19 as quickly as possible. Meanwhile, some people and companies are trying to profit from this pandemic by selling unproven and illegally marketed products that make false claims, such as being effective against the coronavirus.
The point is clear: Criminals and organized crime want to exploit the public’s and political leaders’ fears by claiming they have doses of a Covid-19 vaccine for sale.
And law enforcement agencies know that many people, perhaps millions around the globe, will be tempted to take the chance.
But given the difficulty in manufacturing, storing and transporting the Covid-19 vaccines—especially Pfizer’s and Moderna’s messenger RNA vaccines—there is virtually no chance that any group outside of the manufacturers will have true, non-compromised doses.
Sadly, because a number of U.S. politicians have long claimed that importing prescription drugs outside of the FDA’s oversight and chain of custody is perfectly safe—“It’s the exact same drug you can get in the U.S. only much cheaper”—some Americans will be open to the notion of buying a coronavirus vaccine or treatment online from a website with the picture of a Canadian flag.
For those who have bought drugs online from other countries and haven’t run into problems yet, please don’t think that means an online-purchased Covid-19 vaccine will be genuine. 
It would be tragedy if someone seeking to avoid death from Covid-19 were to end up dead because of a fake Covid-19 vaccine.