Dependable Verification and Monitoring of Merchants, Advertisers and Websites

How LegitScript Classifies Pharmacies

LegitScript classifies pharmacies and other sellers of prescription drugs by legitimacy. This legitimacy is based on the laws and regulations where the pharmacy is located or the region from which it dispenses drugs, and the laws and regulations in any jurisdiction to which the merchant dispenses or delivers drugs.

In determining legitimacy classifications, LegitScript relies on its International Pharmacy Verification Standards. In this context, “applicable laws” refers to both the laws and regulations that exist where the website operates (i.e., dispenses or supplies medicines from), and the laws and regulations of any jurisdiction where the website offers to ship drugs. Internet pharmacy websites must adhere to the laws and regulations in both sets of jurisdictions. (If an Internet pharmacy website is not fully legal in a particular jurisdiction, that area should simply be removed from the list of possible shipping destinations).

Legitimate Pharmacy Merchants

These are pharmacies that have been through our verification process and are confirmed to meet LegitScript standards. Certified pharmacies are monitored on an ongoing basis with monthly reviews and are subject to a full re-review on at least an annual basis. LegitScript certification is available for pharmacies operating with or without an Internet presence, and is available globally.

Rogue Internet Pharmacy Website Criteria

A rogue Internet pharmacy designation applies to merchants operating over the Internet that are engaged in illegal or unsafe activity. In some cases, these actors are licensed as pharmacies somewhere, but nevertheless engaged in illegal activity; in many other cases, they have no pharmacy license at all. Specifically, a website is a rogue Internet pharmacy if its sale or dispensing of prescription or other drugs reasonably appears to intentionally or knowingly violate, facilitate the violation of, or offer to facilitate the violation of applicable laws and regulations where the drugs are shipped to or from.

The most common scenarios in which a website is designated as a rogue Internet pharmacy are if one or more of the following three scenarios is true:

  • The website sells prescription drugs without a valid prescription (as the term valid “prescription” is defined in LegitScript’s international Internet pharmacy certification standards), except where expressly permitted or authorized by applicable laws.
  • The website sells unapproved drugs, which includes but is not limited to drugs that are considered unapproved under applicable law by virtue of being shipped or dispensed outside of authorized drug-supply chains.
  • The website facilitates the sale of drugs by pharmacies or non-pharmacy entities that do not have pharmacy licenses required under applicable laws.
LegitScript often recommends that domain name registrars, Internet service providers, payment facilitators, and other third-party platforms consider disabling services to websites designated as “rogue” Internet pharmacies upon direct verification by LegitScript that the website is not legally compliant.

Unapproved and Unverified Internet Pharmacy Website Criteria

Most Internet pharmacies that do not comply with LegitScript international Internet pharmacy verification standards are “rogue.” However, some are “unverified” or “unapproved,” but not “rogue.”

  • “Unverified” Internet pharmacies are those that — based on a brief, initial review — appear to potentially comply with LegitScript requirements, and that may be under review for certification purposes, but have not yet received a final determination from LegitScript.
  • “Unapproved” Internet pharmacies are those pharmacies that are not approved by LegitScript. These may include pharmacies for which LegitScript has verified some lack of compliance with LegitScript’s international Internet pharmacy verification standards or applicable laws or regulations, but that do not meet the definition of being “rogue.”

Not all pharmacies in LegitScript’s database are publicly searchable from our home page. If you are a payments, e-commerce, advertising, social media, or domain name registration service with questions about a particular pharmacy or other healthcare merchant, contact us.

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