The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy® (NABP®) has launched the .pharmacy generic Top-Level Domain (gTLD) to provide consumers around the world a means for identifying safe, legal, and ethical online pharmacies and related resources. Of the tens of thousands of rogue sites selling prescription drugs online, NABP has reviewed over 10,800 and found that nearly 97% do not follow pharmacy laws and standards established to protect the public health. With this in mind, NABP will grant use of the .pharmacy domain only to legitimate website operators that adhere to pharmacy laws in the jurisdictions in which they are based and in which their patients and customers reside, so that consumers can easily find safe online pharmacies.
The first registration phase for .pharmacy domain names will begin in November 2014. This date marks the start of the Sunrise Period – a preliminary, limited registration period for those trademark holders who have entered their trademarks into the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers Trademark Clearinghouse. During this period, trademark holders may apply to NABP for approval to register their trademark name as a .pharmacy domain.
Following the Sunrise Period, registration for .pharmacy domain names will be open to pharmacy websites that are accredited through the NABP Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites® (VIPPS®) and Veterinary-Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice SitesCM (Vet-VIPPS®) programs, as well as for pharmacy websites that have received approval through the NABP e-Advertiser ApprovalCM Program. These pharmacies and their websites have already undergone a thorough review process and established their compliance with NABP standards for legitimate online practice and are considered eligible to register a .pharmacy domain name.
Applications from other pharmacies seeking to register a .pharmacy domain name will be accepted beginning in early 2015. This phase will be followed by the general registration (or general availability) period, which will be open to any entity offering pharmacy-related products, services, or information that meets .pharmacy eligibility standards. Entities seeking a .pharmacy domain must first submit an application to NABP. Once approved, applicants will be able to register the domain through an approved registrar.
“Because rogue drug sellers continue to proliferate on the Internet, distributing dangerous counterfeit and substandard medications to consumers, the launch of the .pharmacy program is a significant step in protecting the public health, both in the US and other countries,” states NABP President Joseph L. Adams, RPh. “NABP is pleased to begin offering .pharmacy registration so that consumers can easily determine if the site they are using is an appropriately licensed, legitimate pharmacy operating in compliance with program and applicable regulatory standards.”
With the support of an international advisory committee, and the International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP), NABP has developed policies and procedures to ensure that only websites dispensing legitimate medications and operating in a manner that is safe and lawful may use a .pharmacy domain name. The .pharmacy eligibility requirements were developed to address concerns shared by domestic and international stakeholders about illegal online drug sellers distributing products that endanger patient health worldwide.
Among the global coalition of stakeholders behind the .pharmacy initiative are the Alliance for Safe Online Pharmacies, Eli Lilly and Company, European Alliance for Access to Safe Medicines, FIP, Food and Drug Administration, Gilead Sciences, Inc, INTERPOL, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc, LegitScript, Merck & Co, Inc, National Association of Pharmacy Regulatory Authorities, Pfizer, and state boards of pharmacy.
More information about the .Pharmacy gTLD Program, as well as NABP’s most recent research on rogue online drug sellers is available at www.dotpharmacy.net.
NABP is the independent, international, and impartial Association that assists its state member boards and jurisdictions for the purpose of protecting the public health.