The Food and Drug Administration is interested in monitoring the Web for evidence of illegally marketed drugs, medical devices, cigarettes and dietary supplements, according to solicitation documents posted Thursday.
The agency is also considering monitoring illegal online dealing in cosmetics, veterinary products, counterfeit food and adulterated or misbranded vaccines.
The solicitation document is a request for information; the FDA hasn’t officially committed to purchasing any new technology or services.
If the FDA does contract with an Internet monitoring company, it would likely also authorize that company to make straw purchases of illegal products using a “zero balance” credit card supplied by the agency, the RFI said. That means the contractor will be able to complete the purchase online but the credit card will ultimately be declined.
The vendor will perform a maximum of 500 straw purchases each year, the RFI said.