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News & Updates

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

Affiliations: The Last LegitScript Standard


We’ve finally arrived at the last LegitScript standard for safe online phvarmacies. Our eleventh standard is sort of a catch-all that says any pharmacy website up for LegitScript approval cannot be affiliated with other websites that do not meet LegitScript standards.

LegitScript Standard 11: Affiliated websites. The pharmacy, website, pharmacy staff, domain name registrants, and any person or entity that exercises control over, or participates in, the pharmacy business must not be affiliated with or control any other website that violates these standards.

Why are affiliations important? You may be wondering why the affiliations of a website matter. Shouldn’t we only be concerned with the content of the website in question, not other websites? In a word, No. One of the common characteristics of “rogue” Internet pharmacies is that they do not operate alone. Rather, these sites are part of “networks”, sometimes of thousands of websites, that are linked in some way. For instance, it is not unusual for multiple rogue Internet pharmacies to advertise prescription drugs, and once a user clicks on a given drug, redirect the user to a central payment website that processes the order. In this way, many rogue pharmacy websites function as cyber-storefronts that link back to centrally controlled websites. It’s like a drug-dealer franchise!

Of particular concern to LegitScript are rogue Internet pharmacy networks that share a seemingly legitimate storefront site. Many rogue networks will maintain one online pharmacy that appears to be legitimate, and use the business as a front for the network of other websites that violate one or more of the LegitScript standards. If you read our recent blog about a CNN expose, you already know a little about this. CNN exposed a scam where an Internet pharmacy (registered with the State Board of Pharmacy and everything) was redirecting orders to rogue networks. This is why we believe it is so important that all of a pharmacy website’s affiliations be investigated before granting LegitScript approval. It’s not just whether the Internet pharmacy itself is legitimate: it’s whether the organization or network (if any) that the Internet pharmacy is part of is legitimate.

In the same regard, we look to see what other websites are controlled by the individual or entity that controls the Internet pharmacy in question. If the Internet pharmacy seems legitimate, but the owner has registered other websites that don’t require valid prescriptions for prescription drugs, LegitScript won’t approve the Internet pharmacy.

You can be sure that LegitScript investigates and verifies the affiliations of all of the pharmacy websites in our database. If any of those affiliations are with websites that violate our standards, the website will not be LegitScript approved.