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Larissa Doucette

TotalCareMart, an Internet drug outlet based in Winnipeg, has been ordered to shut down by the College of Pharmacists of Manitoba and is being investigated by Health Canada. TotalCareMart, which is not licensed as a pharmacy by the College of Pharmacists of Manitoba, has been advertising drugs that are not approved by Health Canada. Print and online advertisements are aimed at Americans, reports CBC News. “At least three American drugs that are not approved in Canada were listed for sale, including cholesterol-lowering medication Zetia, blood pressure pill Benicar and the antidepressant Lexapro,” indicates CBC News. “There are products under different names that have the same active ingredient and which are approved in Canada.” Further, Health Canada explained to CBC News in an email that “it is a violation to advertise or sell, at retail or via the Internet, drugs that are not authorized for sale in Canada.”

Since 2008, NABP 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 96.13% of the sites reviewed operate out of compliance with US pharmacy laws and practice standards, and identifying these sites as “Not Recommended.” The Association launched the .Pharmacy Top-Level Domain (TLD) Program to provide consumers around the world a means to identify safe and legal online pharmacies and related resources. 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. More information about the .Pharmacy TLD Program, including a list of approved entities with registered .pharmacy domain names, is available online.