Online Pharmacy Regulatory Gap, Public Protection Benefits of .Pharmacy Domain Name Highlighted in Report on Drug Supply Chain Security

June 3, 2015

Topics: Counterfeit Drugs, Internet Pharmacies

NABP’s .pharmacy Top-Level Domain (TLD) and its goal of providing a reliable resource for consumers to identify safe and legitimate online pharmacies and related websites were highlighted in the 2015 Product Security Report from Pharmaceutical Commerce; however, concerns about illegal online drug seller activity remain. In addition, the report outlines the efforts of manufacturers and trading partners in the drug supply chain to meet the tracking and traceability requirements of the Drug Supply Chain Security Act, signed into law in late 2013, as well as industry concerns about regulatory gaps related to illegal online sales of counterfeit or diverted prescription drugs.

Specifically, the report notes that many online drug sellers claim to be based in a particular location (such as Canada), but are actually located at other sites around the world. Further, security measures and verification methods can be defeated by sophisticated counterfeiters, leaving unknowing consumers at risk of receiving dangerous products. “The premise of the dot-pharmacy domain is that consumers will learn to trust only those with that identifier,” the report notes.

NABP has reviewed nearly 11,000 websites that sell prescription medication online and found that 96% do not follow pharmacy laws and standards established to protect the public health. To find the safest sources for purchasing medicine online, NABP encourages consumers to visit sites that have been approved to register a .pharmacy domain name or to look for the Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites® (VIPPS®) Seal on accredited sites. Consumers can find a list of registered .pharmacy websites on the .pharmacy website. NABP’s list of VIPPS-accredited sites may be viewed on the AWARXE® Prescription Drug Safety website.