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Larissa Doucette

At a Congressional hearing on counterfeit drugs and the security of the drug supply chain, expert witnesses highlighted NABP programs that help to ensure patients receive safe medications. The meeting, held by the House Energy and Commerce Committee on February 27, 2014, included testimony from the Government Accountability Office (PDF) that cited the .pharmacy generic Top-Level Domain (gTLD) and NABP’s intent to “grant this domain name to appropriately licensed, legitimate Internet pharmacies operating in compliance with regulatory standards  – including pharmacy licensure, drug authenticity, and prescriptions requirements – in every jurisdiction that the pharmacy does business.”

The Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice SitesCM (VIPPS®) program was also mentioned in testimonies from several drug security experts as an important tool in protecting patients who purchase medications online. For example, Prashant Yadav (PDF), PhD, director of the Health Care Research Initiative at the University of Michigan and an Institute of Medicine (IOM) committee member, testified that the “VIPPS accreditation system should be widely promoted as a useful tool for patients who need to fill prescriptions over the Internet.” Yadav also noted that, in a study commissioned by FDA, IOM recommended that all drug wholesalers be required to meet NABP Verified-Accredited Wholesale Distributors® (VAWD®) accreditation standards. The hearing was held to explore the danger counterfeit drugs pose to public health, and to identify and strengthen efforts to combat that threat.