The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy® (NABP®) has released its Internet Drug Outlet Identification Program Progress Report for State and Federal Regulators: October 2016. The report stresses the importance of critical patient care provided through legitimate online pharmacies and the dangers posed by lack of such patient care options on rogue internet drug outlets. As pharmacists continue to be the most accessible professionals in health care, the patient care services they provide play a crucial role in medication safety for patients. Legitimate online pharmacies always provide a means for accessing patient care services, indicates the report. Further, pharmacists are well positioned to help educate patients about the dangers of rogue online drug outlets.
NABP has reviewed 11,415 internet drug outlets selling prescription medications since 2008 and determined that 96% of these websites are operating out of compliance with state and federal laws and/or NABP patient safety and pharmacy practice standards. Such sites are identified as Not Recommended and are listed on the Association’s website in an effort to protect consumers who may otherwise unknowingly purchase medication from such a rogue internet drug outlet. Among other dangers, more than half (62.1%) of rogue internet drug sellers do not provide contact information on their websites, leaving consumers without a way to reach a pharmacist with questions about the medicine that they have purchased. This removes an important part of consumer-pharmacist interaction: patient care.
NABP started the .Pharmacy Top-Level Domain (TLD) Program so that consumers could easily identify legitimate online pharmacies and related entities using a method that rogue internet drug outlets could not replicate. When consumers see the fraud-proof .pharmacy domain in a website’s address, they can be sure that the website has been verified as safe and legitimate. Pharmacists are key in educating patients about medications; therefore, patient services is one of the 10 core safety standards required in order for a website to qualify for a .pharmacy domain. Websites with a .pharmacy TLD must provide consumers with a way to contact or consult with a pharmacist or medical practitioner regarding complaints or concerns or in the event of a possible adverse event involving their medication.
NABP is dedicated to preserving the integrity of the practice of pharmacy, in all practice settings, to protect the public health. To learn more about pharmacists’ critical role in patient care, including what organizations such as the American Pharmacists Association and the International Pharmaceutical Federation have to say about the topic, read the full report by visiting the Not Recommended Online Pharmacies page in the Acquire Safely section of www.AWARErx.pharmacy.
NABP is the independent, international, and impartial Association that assists its state member boards and jurisdictions for the purpose of protecting the public health.