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NABP calls for global effort to combat illegal online Rx sales
April 29th, 2013
MOUNT PROSPECT, Ill. – Driven by illicit online sellers, the global distribution of counterfeit drugs and substandard medications demands a global response, the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) said in a new report.
In the report issued late Friday, "Internet Drug Outlet Identification Program Progress Report for State and Federal Regulators: April 2013," NABP noted that it has partnered with regulatory authorities, industry leaders and stakeholder groups worldwide to address the issue of rogue Internet drug sellers.
At the center of these efforts is NABP's application, supported by a global coalition of stakeholders, to own and operate the .pharmacy domain registry, which the association said will provide a safe online space for consumers to order medications.
NABP said it continues to review and monitor Web sites selling prescription drugs to patients in the United States. In the report, the association stated that of more than 10,000 Web sites analyzed, nearly 97% operate out of compliance with U.S. pharmacy laws and practice standards established.
Regulatory agencies and public health groups in the United States and abroad indicate that the spread of poor quality and counterfeit medications has proliferated because of illegal distribution by Internet sites, the NABP report explained.
For instance, the Institute of Medicine has examined the global impact of fake and substandard drugs and notes that illegal online drug sellers contribute significantly to the problem. In addition, Interpol, the United Kingdom's Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency, and the European Alliance for Access to Safe Medicine have identified rogue Internet drug outlets as primary sources of medications that don't meet regulatory standards in the nations and jurisdictions to which they are distributed.
In its application to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) for the .pharmacy generic top-level domain, NABP stated the importance of ensuring that only legitimate website operators that adhere to pharmacy laws in the jurisdictions in which they are based and to which they sell medicine will be able to register domain names in .pharmacy. That includes legitimate online pharmacies and related entities that are located in countries other than the United States.
As indicated in the report, the 10,082 Internet drug outlets listed as "Not Recommended" include 4,847 sites that offer foreign or non-Food and Drug Administration-approved drugs, 8,861 sites that don't require a valid prescription, 2,347 sites that have a physical address outside the United States (most rogue sites post no address), and 1,123 sites that dispense controlled substances.