Rogue Internet pharmacies, unsurprisingly, do not particularly appreciate LegitScript's efforts to call them out on what they are doing. The latest: rogue Internet pharmacy network 121Doc is trying to silence LegitScript.
We stand by our classification of the 121Doc network as rogue. Additionally, one of the points we continue to make is: if an Internet pharmacy is willing to be untruthful in its representations to us (or to its customers), it is not unlikely that they are misrepresenting the source or quality of the drugs they sell. Read 121Doc's email to us from earlier today closely:
Re: 121DOC - CEASE AND DESIST DEMAND
It has come to our attention that your Company has engaged in a campaign aimed specifically to discredit and disseminate false and consequently libellous information about and against our site 121doc and associated/affiliate sites on your website www.legitscript.com. Your attention is drawn to the following link on your site - http://www.legitscript.com/pharmacies/show/36739 and any associated link.
For your information our site is an Online Clinic and not an Online Pharmacy. All orders that are processed are only done so on the issuing of a valid prescription by a Registered UK Doctor. Medication is not dispatched by our partnership pharmacies without a valid prescription being issued and having been received from our registered Doctor. Furthermore all prescriptions are filled by our Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain (RPSGB) registered partner Pharmacies and Pharmacists. Further; all medications dispatched by our pharmacist are genuine and branded medications. Orders are not processed for customers located outside the UK or EU registered states. (Emphasis added by LegitScript.) As a consequence we are fully compliant with the regulatory bodies within the UK, namely MHRA and the RPSGB and do not in any way infringe on regulations as promulgated by the FDA, which we are sure you can appreciate have no weight on the UK and EU.
Unless you immediately cease and desist all such activities and libelous references against our site within 48 hrs, we will have no option but to institute proceedings against you without further notice...
Let's break this analysis down.
First, 121Doc's email claims that they don't ship to the United States, and are thus not violating our laws, which prohibit shipping prescription drugs directly to patients from outside of the United States in nearly all cases for safety reasons. Just today, LegitScript submitted a test order for Viagra, putting in a fake US address, and without having a prior prescription. Moreover, we used a non-existent credit card. Those are three things that would make the transaction illegal.
Second, their FAQs talk about how long shipment takes to the United States.
Third, when you arrive at the purchase page, the default shipping address is the United States. Pretty clearly, 121Doc's statement to us the "(o)rders are not processed for customers located outside the UK or EU registered states" is inaccurate: they are offering to ship prescription drug to the United States in violation of our federal laws.
Fourth, it is not legal to dispense a prescription drug without a valid prescription. Simply filling out a pre-filled in form for the drugs that 121Doc sells, without ever been examined in person by the physician (much less one that isn't even located or licensed in the United States), is not the basis for a valid, lawful prescription. We did not have a prescription when we submitted the prescription drug order.
Fifth, if 121Doc network Internet pharmacies are actually using UK-licensed physicians and accredited Internet pharmacies in the United Kingdom to dispense prescription drugs, we hereby issue a public invitation for 121Doc to disclose the identities of those pharmacies, and those physicians, to LegitScript, as well as to the authorities in the United Kingdom and other countries in Europe. It is perfectly reasonable to ask: if 121Doc is actually using licensed pharmacies and physicians in the UK, then what's to hide?
All of this is consistent with our past investigations of 121Doc. Previously, we have similarly conducted test orders from websites within their network, and engaged in test chats with their "live chat" assistants. Previously, in those chats, they indicated that they were willing to ship to the United States. (Today, apparently expecting our chat inquiry and recognizing our IP address, they claimed in a chat they would not ship to the United States, but then we were immediately able to complete a test order for Viagra without a prescription and with a US-based address.)
LegitScript identifies, monitors and exposes Internet pharmacies that act contrary to the laws of where they do business, and/or engage in unethical or unsafe pharmacy practices. 121Doc is a rogue Internet pharmacy network because it doesn't require a valid prescription as per the laws of most US states, and it sends US residents drugs that are not FDA-approved. It's a very clear cut situation. However, we have a standing offer for 121Doc and all rogue Internet pharmacies: we will remove rogue classifications if and when the websites, and the pharmacy practices, comply with the laws and pharmacy practice standards of the countries where the website offers to dispense prescription drugs. We encourage 121Doc to begin this process.
However, if an Internet pharmacy is willing to skirt the laws where it does business, and willing to engage in deceptive behavior with LegitScript, Internet users who choose to fill their prescriptions online have every right to be concerned that the Internet pharmacy will cut corners with their safety as well.