Today, the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy® (NABP®) issued a report discussing the importance of international collaboration in the fight against illegal online drug sellers. As detailed in the Internet Drug Outlet Identification Program Progress Report for State and Federal Regulators: October 2015, there is widespread agreement among multiple countries that Internet sales of medicinal products pose a health risk to their citizens. Additionally, authorities have reported an increase in illegitimate Internet pharmacies, and many agree that international cooperation is critical to solving this expanding global phenomenon.
NABP remains committed to upholding the integrity of the practice of pharmacy – in any practice setting – and ensuring that patients worldwide have access to safe and effective prescription drugs. Since 2008, the Association has been collecting data on websites selling medicine illegally online to United States patients. NABP has reviewed over 11,000 Internet drug outlets, finding that 96.1% of the sites reviewed operate out of compliance with US pharmacy laws and practice standards, and identifying these sites as “Not Recommended.” Approximately 88% of Not Recommended sites are selling prescription drugs without requiring a valid prescription. Nearly 50% offer drugs that are either foreign, or not approved by the US Food and Drug Administration. Further, of the 10,588 Not Recommended sites, 90% can be traced to affiliate networks of rogue Internet drug outlets.
Guided by a global coalition of stakeholders, NABP’s .Pharmacy Top-Level Domain (TLD) Program exemplifies how countries can work together to keep consumers safe from such sites. Only legitimate Internet pharmacies and pharmacy-related websites will qualify for .pharmacy domains, giving consumers worldwide a way to distinguish safe and legal online pharmacies and resources from rogue sites. NABP has established relationships with regulators in multiple countries to review .pharmacy domain name applications for applicants located in or doing business in those countries. NABP continues to develop relationships and has participated in meetings of such international organizations as the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation in Cebu, Philippines, and the International Pharmaceutical Federation World Congress of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences 2015 in Düsseldorf, Germany. During these meetings NABP representatives interacted with representatives from countries in Asia, Africa, Europe, and South America, several of whom expressed interest in participating in the .Pharmacy TLD Program.
More information about the .pharmacy TLD, including a list of approved entities with registered .pharmacy domain names, is available at www.safe.pharmacy.
For the full report with detailed findings on the characteristics of rogue websites and the list of Not Recommended sites, visit www.AWARErx.org.
NABP is the independent, international, and impartial Association that assists its state member boards and jurisdictions for the purpose of protecting the public health.