Setting the Record Straight

We knew we were winning when illicit Internet pharmacies and their allies banded together to try and destroy us.

It was a desperate move. They failed. But it’s quite a story.

Before 2010, when the search engines, payment processors, and domain name registrars started using LegitScript’s services, many illegal online pharmacies were “certified” by a company called PharmacyChecker. That company was the “trusted” resource for the major search engines and others. But unbeknownst to the major Internet players, PharmacyChecker was taking money from multiple Internet pharmacies who would later be indicted and convicted for selling counterfeit or substandard drugs, and who PharmacyChecker certified despite verifiable ongoing illegal activity, like selling prescription drugs without requiring a valid prescription.

After Google, Bing, and Yahoo all cut off their relationship with PharmacyChecker and LegitScript was retained to monitor online pharmacy advertisements, PharmacyChecker went into revenge mode (perhaps to try and get that business back), publishing false and personal attacks against LegitScript and its President, John Horton, even implying that John was the subject of a Congressional investigation (completely false). As LegitScript began shutting down even more rogue online pharmacies, respected cybersecurity researchers noted how Russian “pill gangs” were attempting to “besmirch LegitScript’s founder,” registering thousands of bestiality and rape websites in his name in a coordinated reputation attack. All in all, it was an…interesting few years for LegitScript, as John grew the company in the face of coordinated attacks by cybercriminals and allies of illicit online pharmacies.

LegitScript is now well-established as the trusted resource for search engines, e-commerce businesses, payment processors, and even regulators about online health care. But if you search for information about LegitScript online, some of these false allegations still come up, mostly from PharmacyChecker. As exhaustively explained here, those allegations are false. Indeed, there continues to be a growing list of illicit online pharmacies that had been certified by PharmacyChecker:

  • RxNorth.com, indicted and convicted for selling counterfeit drugs;
    pharmnet.com, advertising controlled substances that were sold without a prescription from India;
  • livewellrx.com, which sold an undercover “13 year old” muscle relaxants without a valid prescription;
  • CanadaDrugs, currently under indictment for counterfeit drug sales;
  • pillsbargain.com, which did not require a valid prescription for tramadol;
  • tenpharmastores.com, linked to websites offering Vicodin without a prescription;
    shopeastwest.com, promoted on PharmacyChecker’s own website, and selling prescription drugs without a prescription from India. The principal was recently convicted of illegal online medicine sales and is expected to be sentenced to prison later in 2016. His associates remain targets of extradition for criminal prosecution.
  • top10pharma.com, selling drugs without a valid prescription.

All of these websites were PharmacyChecker-approved, and the company has continued advocating for businesses like CanadaDrugs despite the indictment and undisputed sale of counterfeit cancer medicines. So next time you read allegations from PharmacyChecker about LegitScript or its founder, put them in context of PharmacyChecker’s ongoing relationship with illegal online pharmacies who apparently (and understandably) wish that they could somehow make LegitScript just go away.