Pharmacy Group Cracking Down on Illegal Online Sellers

Through an accreditation program and domain registry, the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy seeks to put an end to online sales of fake and substandard medications.

Illegal online sellers are fueling the global distribution of counterfeit and substandard medications, according to a recent report by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy. NABP has partnered with regulatory authorities, industry leaders, and stakeholder groups to address the issue, the group announced late last month.

International collaboration is needed to protect patient health.

At the center of the effort is NABP’s application to own and operate the .pharmacy domain registry.

“The ultimate benefactors of NABP’s vision for this new gTLD [generic top-level domain] will be the healthcare community and patients worldwide, who will be assured that all pharmacy sites ending in the .pharmacy gTLD are safe and legitimate,” NABP President Michael A. Burleson said in a statement. “By vetting .pharmacy registrants for compliance with international standards, NABP seeks to protect patients worldwide from the health risks that can result when drug sellers circumvent supply chain safeguards.”

In a progress report for NABP’s Internet Drug Outlet Identification Program [PDF], the group reported that nearly 97 percent of the more than 10,400 websites the program analyzed operate “out of compliance with U.S. pharmacy laws.”

NABP developed the Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites accreditation program and allows websites that have gone through the program to display a VIPPS seal. Consumers can also view a database of the approved sites at www.AWARErx.org, a part of NABP’s consumer protection program to educate the public about the risks of online drug retailers.

Despite these efforts, NABP says there is more to be done.

“International collaboration is needed to protect patient health,” NABP said in the report. “[We] are committed to upholding the integrity of the practice of pharmacy, curtailing the online trade of illicit and counterfeit medications, and ensuring that patients have access to safe and effective prescription drugs”

Has your association taken steps to protect your industry in a similar way? Share your story in the comments.

Rob Stott

By Rob Stott

Rob Stott is a contributing editor for Associations Now. MORE

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