When is a business investment a bad business investment? When it involves an illegal Internet pharmacy network that has been supplying unregulated, unapproved prescription medication globally for over 12 years.
According to The Hindu BusinessLine, the investment banking firm Mape Advisory Group is co-financing a new venture (“Netmeds”), set to launch this week, from the Pradeep Dadha Group of Companies. PDGOC’s new online pharmacy business promises to deliver medicines anywhere in India within 24 hours, and Pradeep Dadha predicts it will be a billion-dollar company by 2020.
But does the Mape Group really want to invest in an enterprise engaged in illegal online drug sales?
LegitScript’s familiarity with PDGOC comes chiefly from one of its illegal Internet pharmacy enterprises: the InternationalDrugMart group of illegal online pharmacies. Among other business ventures, Dadha and his business associates have operated or supplied drugs for many rogue Internet pharmacies, such as internationaldrugmart.com, for years. LegitScript test buys in the past established that the business supplied drugs for Russian criminal gangs such as Rx-Partners.
Under the guise of several companies, including TDP Technologies, TDP Healthcare Logistic and Global Healthcare Limited, Dadha has amassed a significant presence in the Internet pharmacy world, perhaps most notably through InternationalDrugMart. LegitScript currently monitors more than 90 online illicit websites that can be linked back to Dadha and his many companies, with many more either shut down through our free registrar notification program or expired through natural wastage, typically then replaced by new domain names.
Whatever sort of a good investment an online pharmacy business may or may not be, it’s hard to see one that predicates part of its business model on failing to comply with applicable laws and regulations as a sound bet.
Although the websites state they require a prescription, LegitScript has previously ordered prescription-only medication from InternationalDrugMart without being required to provide a valid prescription. Moreover, the drugs were ordered to be shipped into countries where Dadha’s “pharmacies” are not duly licensed.
And consider the false advertising by PDGOC’s online pharmacies. The online pharmacy eurodrugstore.eu markets itself — through its domain name as well as the content on the website — as if it is an EU-based pharmacy. Part of that marketing is the seemingly comforting image of “Dr. J. Kayne, pharmacist,” in the bottom right of the image below. The image of a smiling, friendly, and — dare we say it? — seemingly European pharmacist is intended to convince visitors to Euro Drugstore that it is, in fact, an EU-based pharmacy.
But there is no “Dr. J. Kayne, pharmacist” — it’s just a stock photo, purchased from Getty Images. And the “pharmacy license” posted by eurodrugstore.eu, “4208-MIII-21B,” is for Dadha’s InternationalDrugMart.
Then there are the drugs themselves, which are offered at discounted prices to tempt the customer into buying a “generic” form of medication that is claimed to offer the same effect as the authentic, brand medication, but are in fact not approved for sale. For example, the websites offer sildenafil citrate as a generic form of Kamagra. Kamagra is unapproved in most countries, so therefore it’s practically impossible to obtain a prescription for it. Of greater concern is the sale of generic anti-cancer medication: medication that, when prescribed by a doctor and legitimately purchased through a licensed pharmacy can help to save your life, but when purchased from a website like internationaldrugmart.eu could be a gamble, as there is no guarantee that the drug is genuine or contains the correct dosage.
Websites like the ones operated by Dadha and his associates like to promote themselves as a public service by providing cheaper medicines without the hassle of visiting a doctor or healthcare professional. In reality, they are motivated by profit and care little for the implications or health risks posed by unverified, unlicensed and, in some cases, fake medicines. And, from an investor’s standpoint, it should be an easy call: investing in a business engaged in criminal activity should be see as too high-risk.
The Mape Advisory Group should do due diligence on Pradeep Dadha, TDP Healthcare, InternationalDrugMart, and associated Internet pharmacies, and carefully consider who they are investing in.