Dependable Verification and Monitoring of Merchants, Advertisers and Websites

Setting the record straight

If you've done any research on LegitScript, you may have noticed some negative reviews. On the one hand, this is a sign we are doing our job. Fake or rogue online pharmacy operators - who run illicit but highly profitable businesses - are understandably displeased when a LegitScript notification results in their website being shut down. They have the right to express their opinion, just like anybody else.

On the other hand, there have been some particularly negative attacks that we feel are unwarranted and are blatantly inaccurate. For those who care to get the other side of the story, please read on.

To cut to the chase, PharmacyChecker, a company that performs online pharmacy verifications and approves pharmacies engaged in illegal drug importation, has repeatedly published false and personal attacks against LegitScript and its President, John Horton.

PharmacyChecker has been informed that its allegations are false, yet declines to remove the misleading information. So, let's set the record straight:

First, PharmacyChecker is a competitor. Google used to require Internet pharmacy advertisers to be PharmacyChecker-approved, but terminated its contract with PharmacyChecker in 2010 (followed by Yahoo and Microsoft), and then hired LegitScript to monitor Google's Internet pharmacy ads in the US and EU. After that, the personal attacks against LegitScript started.

Second, before PharmacyChecker lost the Google contract, multiple sources (in addition to LegitScript) revealed that PharmacyChecker had approved Internet pharmacies that were selling prescription drugs without a prescription. Some of PharmacyChecker's approved websites were also the subject of counterfeit drug warnings in the U.S. or Canada.

Third, PharmacyChecker promotes itself as an impartial evaluator of Internet pharmacies, but expends significant energy insisting that foreign drug suppliers are safe, despite being illegal to order from, and despite the fact that some of these supply chains have been the subject of counterfeit drug warnings. Companies that provide certification services are supposed to impartially apply their standards, not act as a advocate on behalf of those whom they are supposed to monitor. (This is a big reason why LegitScript offers its certification service for free). A portion of PharmacyChecker's revenue comes from foreign Internet pharmacies that market themselves as "Canadian," but that are really supplying drugs from India, Turkey, Singapore and other locations, relabeled to trick customers into thinking the drugs came from Canada, or are the same medicine that you would get from a Canadian pharmacy.

Look at PharmacyChecker's track record of certifying unsafe Internet pharmacies. Among the Internet pharmacies that PharmacyChecker has approved:

  • RxNorth.com (selling counterfeit drugs);
  • pharmnet.com (advertising controlled substances that were sold without a prescription from India);
  • livewellrx.com (sold an undercover "13 year old" muscle relaxants without a valid prescription);
  • pillsbargain.com (did not require a valid prescription for tramadol);
  • tenpharmastores.com (linked to websites offering Vicodin without a prescription);
  • shopeastwest.com (listed on PharmacyChecker's own website, and selling prescription drugs without a prescription from India);
  • top10pharma.com (selling drugs without a valid prescription)
  • All of these websites were PharmacyChecker-approved.

After LegitScript documented this information, Tod Cooperman (PharmacyChecker president) and Gabriel Levitt (PharmacyChecker VP) published claims against John Horton that are completely untrue. Some people may incorrectly infer from this that there is, or has been, a congressional investigation against LegitScript or against John Horton for misuse of his (former) government position at the White House. In fact, there is not and never has been any such investigation, or anything remotely like it. Cooperman and Levitt even went so far as to insinuate that John Horton criminally accepted bribes from the pharmaceutical industry while in government - a totally false allegation with zero basis in fact. (The truth is, LegitScript's founders started the company with their own money and received no outside funding).

The Truth

So why is this happening? LegitScript has helped put thousands of illicit foreign (and domestic) pharmaceutical suppliers' websites out of business or prevented them from advertising online. PharmacyChecker is a key supporter and advocate of that industry - we presume on a paid basis. But those who accept PharmacyChecker's selfpromotion as a selfless, altruistic voice for people who can't afford their medications, should remember that PharmacyChecker is a for-profit business, and its business interests are closely tied to those of foreign drug suppliers.

So, if you've read the defamatory accusations against LegitScript and John Horton, keep this in mind: PharmacyChecker "verified" Internet pharmacies as legitimate that were the subject of counterfeit drug warnings and were selling drugs without a prescription - not just one or two websites, but multiple websites. If they are willing to verify such online pharmacies as "safe," it should come as no surprise that they are willing to disseminate outright lies about a competitor.

(LegitScript has also prepared a more detailed point-by-point response for interested parties.)