NABP has released its Internet Drug Outlet Identification Program Progress Report for State and Federal Regulators: March 2017. The report stresses how rogue internet drug outlets contribute to the rise of antibiotic resistance by not requiring prescriptions to purchase medications. The increase in bacterial infections that are resistant to antibiotics prompted Congress to appropriate $160 million to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); the agency’s efforts include combating the overuse of these drugs in health care settings. NABP’s online research highlights another contributor to this global health concern – two-thirds of organic search engine results for antibiotics yielded rogue websites that sell these medications without obtaining prescriptions. Purchasing antibiotics from these websites without a prescription means consumers are taking these powerful medications without oversight from a licensed health care provider and potentially contributing to antibiotic resistance.
Since 2008, NABP has reviewed 11,486 internet drug outlets selling prescription medications and found that 96% are operating out of compliance with state and federal laws and/or NABP pharmacy practice and patient safety standards. To educate consumers about the various dangers of using these illegitimate websites, NABP posts a list of Not Recommended websites on the Association’s website. Of these sites, 89% sell medication without a valid prescription, endangering consumers in several ways, including contributing to the development of antibiotic-resistant infections.
In its latest research, NABP searched online for five of the most commonly used antibiotics and found that 65% of the search results targeting United States-based customers provided access to websites that did not require a valid prescription. Similar trends have been studied in sites selling to United Kingdom-based customers. Educating consumers about the dangers of such potentially harmful purchases is part of the reason NABP started the .Pharmacy Top-Level Domain (TLD) Program. .Pharmacy websites enable consumers to identify safe online pharmacies simply by looking for “.pharmacy” in a website address/URL. And one of the .Pharmacy TLD Program standards requires pharmacies using the domain to obtain a valid prescription from the patient. Being able to separate legitimate online pharmacies from rogue internet drug outlets is an essential part of protecting public health. Consumers no longer need to look for safety seals, which can be faked, since the fraud-proof mark of safety is in a .pharmacy website’s URL. To see the list of trustworthy .pharmacy websites, visit the Buying Safely section of www.safe.pharmacy.
As of year-end 2016, NABP has granted approval for 430 .pharmacy website names, and 262 .pharmacy website names have been registered for use.
To learn more about the impact of rogue internet drug outlets on the increase in antibiotic resistance, read the full report by visiting the Program and Committee Reports page in the Publications and Reports section of www.NABP.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.