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LegitScript Standard 6: Legal Compliance

The sixth LegitScript standard is pretty straightforward. It requires that LegitScript only approves pharmacy websites that act lawfully.

Standard 6: Legal compliance. The pharmacy must comply with all provisions of federal and state law, including but not limited to the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act and the Federal Controlled Substances Act (including the provisions of the Ryan Haight Online Pharmacy Consumer Protection Act, upon the effective date). The pharmacy must not dispense or offer to dispense medications that have not been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Why is this important? It may seem self-explanatory, but LegitScript believes it is necessary to only approve pharmacy websites that act within the confines of U.S. law if they offer to sell prescription drugs to U.S. consumers. The laws mentioned above were developed in response to the dangers posed by a lack of regulation over prescription drugs. As we mentioned in the last blog, there is a reason these drugs must be obtained by prescription only, and ordering and dispensing them without following the relevant regulations can result in dangerous situations such as receiving counterfeit drugs that pose serious health risks. Many rogue Internet pharmacies use the argument that they aren’t breaking any laws in “their” country (India, Russia, Turkey, etc) and therefore should be considered a safe Internet pharmacy. Unfortunately for them, if you ship products to U.S. consumers, you must follow U.S. law, and U.S. law does not permit importation of drugs from another country except in rare instances where the drugs adhere to U.S. regulations.

Do we have the right to impose U.S. law on businesses based in other countries? This is a question commonly asked by rogue Internet pharmacies and their patrons: How can the U.S. demand that other countries follow U.S. laws when their businesses are not located in the U.S.? On the surface, the question appears to make sense. And, if a company is located outside of the U.S. and does not do business with U.S. customers, then no, we do not have the right to hold the business to U.S. legal standards. However, this is not the case with the majority of rogue Internet pharmacies. Such entities may be based outside the U.S. and source their drugs from any number of countries, but their target consumer base, by and large, are U.S. citizens. These Internet pharmacies frequently advertise shipping to the U.S. and use “United States” as their default shipping destination. So, although the business and drugs may be based outside of U.S. borders, the fact that these pharmacies are shipping their product into the U.S. makes them subject to U.S. laws.

LegitScript is committed to approving only those Internet pharmacies that follow U.S. laws as they exist and evolve. We do this with the public’s interest in mind- after all, if an Internet pharmacy is willing to disregard our laws, what else will they disregard?