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The Latest on Internet Pharmacies, Supplements, Designer Drugs, and Other High-Risk Merchants

LegitScript Standard #3: Prior Discipline

Continuing the discussion of the standards LegitScript uses to approve safe online pharmacies, we’ll talk about our third standard.

Standard 3: Prior discipline. The pharmacy and its pharmacist-in-charge must not have been subject to significant recent and/or repeated disciplinary sanctions.

What does it mean?
This standard addresses a pharmacy’s history of adhering to safe medical practices as well as legitimate business practices. LegitScript takes a look at whether the pharmacy, or its pharmacist-in-charge, have been disciplined by a State Board of Pharmacy, or have faced other civil or criminal penalties. In making this determination, we consider whether the problem was “significant” and whether the discipline was “recent.”

Okay, what does “significant” mean?
To some degree, this is a judgment call. For example, some regulatory violations are comparatively minor, and are not inherently a threat to patient safety (i.e., failure by one of the pharmacists to renew a single state license on time three years ago, if the pharmacist missed the deadline by a couple of weeks). LegitScript is more concerned with violations that demonstrate a disregard for patient safety. An example of such a violation would be a pharmacist who has been charged with dispensing medication to patients without a valid prescription.

Generally, if there has been past discipline of a pharmacy, LegitScript will consult with other industry experts regarding the seriousness of the violation. The fundamental question we ask is: given the reason for the discipline, can we truthfully say that this pharmacy is safe? If not, we’ll generally decline to approve the online pharmacy.

Okay, what does “recent” mean?
Usually, we look to any discipline occurring within the last five years. However, if there is extremely serious discipline, or multiple instances of discipline, more than five years previous, LegitScript may consider that. On the other hand, if there was disciplinary problems three years earlier, but the ownership and staff have since changed, it’s likely that we’ll consider that in a positive light.

Why is this important?
One of the biggest hesitations people have about ordering their prescriptions online is that they worry about the integrity of a pharmacy they can’t see and a pharmacist they don’t know filling their prescriptions. LegitScript is committed to approving online pharmacies that are held to the same standards as brick-and-mortar pharmacies so you can be sure your prescription is handled with same professionalism and integrity as at your local pharmacy. In fact, most of our approved online pharmacies are brick-and-mortar pharmacies that simply offer the convenience of ordering prescriptions online.