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

For rogue Internet pharmacy operators: How to avoid getting your domain name suspended

So, you’re operating a rogue Internet pharmacy website. And you’ve heard that LegitScript has shut down more than 35,000 rogue Internet pharmacies over the past few years. So you want to know: How can I avoid having my rogue Internet pharmacy shut down by LegitScript?

First of all, STOP. If you don’t have a pharmacy license, you’re just playing pharmacist, and you shouldn’t be selling prescription drugs anyway. What’s that? You’re “just” an affiliate marketer? Well, there are very few affiliate pharmacy doctorate pharmacy pharmd degree pharmacistnetworks that aren’t rogue, and most of the rest are considered unapproved. Affiliate marketing programs are generally inconsistent with the spirit of pharmacy and drug safety regulations, which require accountability, transparency and special training to market prescription drugs. (No, mocking up your own PharmD degree in Photoshop and printing it out doesn’t count.) Also, have you thought this through? If the affiliate network is willing to sell unapproved drugs or prescription drugs without requiring a prescription, what makes you think they aren’t willing to lie to their affiliate marketers about their legitimacy or other business practices?

Second, do something else with your domain name. Maybe create a web comic about a “Canadian” Internet pharmacy’s flummoxed American customers speaking to operators at a call center in Thailand about medication they received from Turkey — though that’s not exactly “ha-ha funny.” Maybe use the website to post accurate information about prescription drugs, but don’t sell them. Want to monetize it? Consider posting advertisements from a legitimate advertising service like Google or Bing ads. Really, it’s not difficult to avoid losing your domain name. The best way to keep it is to not operate an Internet pharmacy at all if you don’t have a license to do so.

Third, feel free to contact us and ask about the affiliate marketing program of your choice. You don’t have to tell us your website name (unless you’re proud of how you crafted it just so). We’ll be happy to let you know if the affiliate pharmacy program is legitimate. (Most aren’t.) Want to check for yourself? Ask them to produce pharmacy and prescriber licenses in each jurisdiction they ship drugs to. There are a few where reciprocity with another jurisdiction exists, but not many.

“Just the affiliate marketer” or “I’m not the one who actually handles the drugs” isn’t much of an excuse when your customer gets substandard drugs or, God forbid, has an adverse health reaction, overdose or death.

Ultimately, if your website is being used to facilitate the sale of prescription drugs, there’s no magic trick you can perform to make it legitimate if you lack the backing of a pharmacy licensed in the markets where you target customers. And even with a pharmacy license, there’s no excuse for selling prescription drugs without requiring a prescription, or selling unapproved or falsified medicines. Dispensing prescription drugs, online or offline, isn’t a “right” — it’s a privilege only afforded to certain individuals and businesses that meet certain criteria. It’s your responsibility to comply with the laws and regulations where the drugs can be shipped to — not our responsibility to warn you. You should do it now, not wait until the domain name has been shut down, after which we do not negotiate under any circumstances. We aren’t obligated to give you a heads up about our impending notifications to a registrar. Once the domain name has been suspended, the only recourse available to you is our appeals process, which requires you to submit pharmacy licenses, and has never led to a successful appeal.

If we’ve got you thinking about an entirely different line of work right now, we’d say you’re on the right track.