Corrections or additions?
This article by was prepared for the
October 24, 2001 edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights
Between the Lines
E-mail is a terrific vehicle for spreading rumors. What
used to be whispered at the watercooler and passed on from one person
to another can now be transmitted, by touching a key in your address
book, to everyone you know. Immediately.
Just last week we received a very credible E-mail warning, the one
about "don’t go to a mall on October 31." It was forwarded
from a college professor with the caveat that "I don’t usually
send on these E-mails but I knew where this came from." It cited
a woman who discovered her boyfriend had been involved in the
plot, and before he left the country he gave her the "mall on
The FBI has checked that out, according to David Emery, appearing
on Marty Moss-Cowaine’s WHYY Radio Times show on Monday, October 22.
Emery, who has a hoax investigation web page
says that the mall rumor has been checked out by the FBI. Rack up
another rumor for the "urban legend" heap.
Everyone’s current worry is anthrax-laced mail. The rumor mill ran
close to home last week when we got an official looking fax, a
service announcement" from Michael McCormick of Rochester, New
York, with an official-sounding webpage called www.Medicines.MD. (In
a telephone interview he explained that he obtained the ".md"
domain name as a result of a small country, Muldova, selling its
"Generic CIPRO now available for U.S. Citizens," proclaimed
the press release. It quoted the Red Cross and FEMA as saying that
needed prescription drugs should be on hand in case of a biological
attack. The press release goes on to say that Ranbaxy Ltd., in India,
one of the world’s largest producers of Ciprofloxacin, "is waiving
the prescription requirement for U.S. citizens in light of the current
threat. The prescription waiver applies only to those antibiotics
used in cases of biological attack."
Ranbaxy Pharmaceuticals Inc. has a Princeton office on College Road.
Can this be true, that this company is doing an end run around the
FDA to illegally market their generic version of a patented drug in
the United States? Putting the question of patent law aside, many
experts would oppose blanketing the country with self-prescribed
We called McCormick. Turns out he is not selling Cipro himself. Oh
no, that would make him a pharmacist, and though his website is called
www.e-pharmacy.md he is really the author of a book that
tells how to import drugs cheaply. We asked whether he isn’t causing
trouble for Ranbaxy.
"I am sure I didn’t meet official protocol," said McCormick,
"but if they are selling more of it they can’t be too awfully
Oh yes they can. A call to Ranbaxy on College Road. drew this reply
from Chuck Caprariello, director of marketing and business
"I got a report on this website, saying we are making Cipro
without prescription," says Caprariello. "There is no basis
for that comment, nor do we have that product available in the United
States. In the U.S. there is patent protection for that product and
we recognize that."
Another rumor quashed. But will the malls be empty on Halloween?
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