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Microsoft, Yahoo to require NABP/VIPPS approval for Internet pharmacy ads

The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy announced today that, Microsoft’s decision engine, will now require Internet pharmacies and any other website that facilitates the sale of prescription drugs to be accredited by the NABP as part of its Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites (“VIPPS”) program.

In February, Google updated its ad policy, becoming the first search engine to require VIPPS accreditation for all Internet pharmacy advertisers. LegitScript assists Google in implementing the updated policy by monitoring sponsored search results for ads that violate Google’s policy.

The NABP announcement applauds Microsoft’s policy update, and states:

In February 2008, NABP began an intensive study of Web sites selling prescription drugs and has found that, of the more than 6,000 Internet drug outlets NABP has reviewed, 96% appear to be out of compliance with pharmacy laws and practice standards. These sites dispense dangerous prescription drugs to patients without a valid prescription or medical oversight. The drugs are often unapproved for sale in the US – or any other developed country – and are often substandard, contaminated, or counterfeit.

LegitScript’s findings have been similar: of the approximately 42,000 Internet pharmacies that target the US listed in our database, only 1% are verified as in compliance with US federal and state laws; another 2%-3% are likely candidates for LegitScript approval.

LegitScript joins the NABP in applauding the policy update by Microsoft, which will help protect the public by requiring Internet pharmacies that participate in Bing’s online advertising program to adhere to standards recognized by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy.

Note: A few days after this blog post, Yahoo announced that it would follow suit. Now, all three major search engines require VIPPS accreditation for Internet pharmacy advertisers.