Last year, LegitScript announced that we would be helping Google implement its updated online advertising policy regarding Internet pharmacies. We’re pleased to announce that our role has been expanded to helping monitor Google Product Search (also known as Google Shopping, and formerly known as froogle.com) for shopping results related to prescription drugs and other regulated healthcare products.
Google’s Internet pharmacy policies for Google Product Search require that any Internet pharmacy or prescription drug advertiser targeting the US must be accredited by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) as part of the NABP’s Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites (VIPPS) program, the Vet-VIPPS program (for animal pharmacy websites) or as part of the NABP’s eAdvertiser program.
LegitScript maintains what we believe is the largest database of non-spam rogue Internet pharmacies. Generally, we group websites that offer prescription drugs or other regulated healthcare products into one of three categories: legitimate (meeting NABP/LegitScript requirements); unverified (potentially meeting those requirements); and unapproved (verified as failing to meet at least one of those requirements). Within the “unapproved” category is a subcategory of “rogue” Internet pharmacies ⎯ websites that are blatantly illegal, and do things like selling prescription drugs without requiring a valid prescription.
Why would rogue Internet pharmacies try to participate in Google Product Search? Easy: regardless of the product, participating in Google Product Search is a good way to reach customers. That’s great for appropriately licensed Internet pharmacies that sell FDA-approved prescription drugs with a valid prescription. But websites that target the US market with non-FDA approved drugs, or sell prescription drugs without a prescription, pose a health risk to Internet users.
Submissions from LegitScript’s visitors help make our program stronger and more comprehensive, and we encourage our users to let us know about rogue Internet pharmacies. If you are associated with an Internet pharmacy or prescription drug website, and think that your website meets NABP requirements program standards, LegitScript encourages you to visit nabp.net to find out more about and apply for the VIPPS or eAdvertiser programs, in order to become an approved Internet pharmacy advertiser with Google and/or participate in Google Product Search.