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NABP: Rogue online pharmacies squelched by global collaboration
October 26th, 2012
MOUNT PROSPECT, Ill. – The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) has released a report highlighting the need for members to the international pharmacy community to collaborate in the battle against illegal online drug sellers.
NABP said Friday that according to its "Internet Drug Outlet Identification Program Progress Report for State and Federal Regulators" report, global cooperation from public and private organizations has resulted in the shutdown of thousands of websites selling prescription drugs illicitly, also known as rogue online pharmacies.
Of more than 10,000 websites analyzed, about 97% operate out of compliance with pharmacy laws and practice standards established in the United States and many other developed countries, the NABP report found. These sites provide an outlet for counterfeit medicines to enter the U.S. drug supply, endangering public health and safety, the association noted.
Collaborative efforts over the last six months cited in the report include the following:
• Operation Pangea, which included 100 countries and resulted in thousands of illegal sites being shut down.
• An investigation by LegitScript.com, which gave NABP and other stakeholders the proof to persuade a domain name registrar to suspend about 5,000 rogue websites and to modify its policies to prevent such abuses in the future.
• Collaboration with Canadian regulators to extend the VIPPS (Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites) accreditation program to include Canadian-based websites selling Health Canada-approved medications to consumers in Canada.
• NABP's application, suppored a global coalition of stakeholders, to be the registry for the new .PHARMACY domain.
• A meeting hosted by NABP with China's State Food and Drug Administration to discuss pharmacy prescription drug regulation, particularly as it relates to the Internet and illegal online drug sellers.
Of the 9,830 websites found to be operating out of compliance with U.S. pharmacy laws and listed as "Not Recommended" on NABP's AWARErx.org consumer protection website, 9,543 appear to be affiliated with a network that obtains drugs from questionable sources; 4,832 offer drugs that are foreign or not approved by the Food and Drug Administration; 8,594 don't require a valid prescription; 2,274 have a physical address outside of U.S. (most rogue sites post no address whatsoever, NABP noted), and 3,708 have server locations in foreign countries.
NABP's VIPPS program is designed to help consumers find the safest sources for purchasing medicine online, and its VIPPS Seal designates an accredited pharmacy website.