Plans for a nonprofit dedicated to fighting rogue Internet drug outlets and counterfeit drugs will be developed by 11 Internet commerce companies who took part – along with the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) and other stakeholders – in a recent White House meeting coordinated by the Office of the United States Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator (IPEC). As revealed at the meeting, which took place December 14, 2010, an estimated 36 million Americans have purchased medications from Web sites not requiring valid prescriptions, according to a recent survey conducted by the Partnership at drugfree.org. Purchases from such illegal sites increase the possibility that drugs received are counterfeits. Victoria Espinel, Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator, stated, “It is a real wake-up call that so many Americans have engaged in this dangerous behavior.” Further, Homeland Security Secretary, Janet Napolitano stressed that there has been a significant increase in counterfeit activity as evidenced by Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Patrol investigations.
At a prior meeting coordinated by IPEC on November 9, 2010, NABP shared information about the VIPPS (Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice SitesCM) and NABP e-Advertiser ApprovalCM programs, as well as the list of Not Recommended Sites. Stakeholders in attendance expressed support for continuing the VIPPS and e-Advertiser programs and for expanding NABP’s efforts by developing a more comprehensive “White List” of Internet sites. If developed, the “White List” would identify those sites that hold legitimate licenses/permits with the state boards of pharmacy and Drug Enforcement Administration, and are not subject to any disciplinary action that would preclude their ability to operate.
At the meeting held December 14, Espinel announced that 11 companies will partner to “create a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving public health and safety by targeting illegal online drug sellers,” as reported in a press release from the Alliance for Safe Online Pharmacies. Companies that have committed to developing the nonprofit are American Express, eNom, Go Daddy, Google, MasterCard, Microsoft, Network Solutions, NeuStar, PayPal, Visa, and Yahoo!.