We sent out a reminder this morning about LegitScript’s feature that allows Internet users to report a rogue online pharmacy. So far, LegitScript’s visitors have helped push us past the 10,000 mark. (Yes, that means that we’ve documented more than 10,000 rogue online pharmacies!)
How many rogue pharmacy websites exist in total? Nobody knows, but we’re sticking with our estimate of 25,000 or so. That said, the number is always changing. And, most of these websites are part of rogue Internet pharmacy networks. In other words, hundreds of websites actually link back to just one prescription drug supplier, even though all of the websites look identical, so there aren’t actually 25,000 separate suppliers.
Dr. Bryan Liang of the Pharmaceutical Security Institute recently blogged about some criteria for helping identify whether an online pharmacy is legitimate or not. (Of course, the first thing to do is to look for either the VIPPS Seal of Approval or the LegitScript Seal of Approval.) Dr. Liang recommended the following as red flags:
- The site does not have a physical address or telephone number is listed.
- The site does not have a licensed pharmacist available to answer questions.
- There is no way to talk to a person if problems arise regarding suspect contraband or counterfeit medication.
- The site does not ask for the name, address, or phone number of your current doctor.
- The site does not require that a valid prescription issued by a physician be provided before filling the order.
- The site offers to sell drugs without a prescription or only requires a buyer to fill out a questionnaire to receive drugs.
- The site does not accept any insurance and requires that all payments be made with a credit card.
- The site requires that you waive some rights before sending the drugs.
- The site “advises” consumers about drug importation laws and why it is “permissible” to obtain prescription drugs from foreign countries via the Internet.
- The site encourages buyers to have the drugs sent to post office boxes.