LegitScript has identified a new rogue Internet pharmacy network of more than 50 websites that illegally ship drugs into Japan without requiring a valid prescription. As this network, and other operators of Internet pharmacies should know, the online sale of prescription medications is not permitted in Japan. This network, which we refer to as Roy Union Limited (the name of the company behind these Internet pharmacies), consists of 45 websites that are the businesses of interest and 10 rogue Internet pharmacies that are “anchor” websites. A few of the anchor websites are osakado.com, jisapp.com, orandaya.com and m-hk.com.
Japan doesn’t allow online sales of any prescription drugs. There is a small exception for “personal importation,” but the exception is very narrow — and many rogue Internet pharmacies exploit this rule. Basically, if a website advertises unapproved drugs at all, it’s considered to be illegal under Japanese law. Of course, none of the Roy Union Limited Network websites are following the rules for personal importation, despite claiming that they do. Websites in the network display a copyright notice along with 個人輸入代行 (“personal import agency”), the name of the narrow prescription drug importation exception.
Despite using misleading website names — such as orandaya.com (“Orandaya” translates to “Holland store”) or osakado.com (“Osakado” translates to “Osaka store”) — Roy Union Limited is not located in either Holland or in Osaka, Japan. The company is based in Hong Kong, and it claims to ship medicines from Hong Kong, Singapore, the US, Thailand and other places. Roy Union Limited and its distributor, Succeed Holdings Ltd. (also in Hong Kong), are identified in this corporate profile, found on the website m-hk.com:
Roy Union Limited websites mostly sell the same products but have different designs that are meant to attract various types of customers. For example, the website design for m-hk.com and orandaya.com is geared toward female customers, whereas osakado.com targets male customers. But it doesn’t matter which one customers choose because all the profits go to the same place: the network Roy Union Limited.
What do they sell, and why they are rogue?
The websites in this network carry products that run the gamut from erectile dysfunction drugs, anti-depressants, birth control pills and diabetes medicines to cancer drugs, HIV drugs and even psychoactive high products. The network also has online rogue animal pharmacies, such as usapara.com.
Rogue Internet pharmacies often say “personal importation of medicines” is allowed under Japanese laws and therefore their business is legal. That is not true. Rogue Internet pharmacies also say their medicines are “genuine,” but that is not necessarily true either. Medicines purchased from these websites are different from what you get from your local pharmacies with doctors’ prescriptions because most likely they are unregulated, which means they are not made by certified manufacturers and they are not quality controlled.
Our advice to the Japanese public is very simple: Do not buy prescription medicines online. There is no “legitimate online pharmacy” that sells prescription drugs in Japan, and none of the Japanese-language websites that sell prescription drugs are approved by the Japanese Health Ministry. If you find a website that claims it is a legitimate Internet pharmacy, ask yourself: How will I know if the product they send is genuine? Who makes the medicines, and where? What’s in the medicine? Who is doing the quality control? Unfortunately, there is no way to know. Buying prescription medicines from websites that are run by networks such as Roy Union Limited could put your life at risk.