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New Internet pharmacy findings in NABP report: falsified VIPPS accreditations, fake medicines

A recent report from the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy outlines the deceptive practices of the majority of Internet pharmacies in the online healthcare marketplace. After reviewing 10,533 pharmacy websites over the last quarter, NABP found that a number of Internet drug sellers were falsely claiming to be accredited by NABP’s VIPPS program. Of the 10,533 websites, 96.66% were “not recommended” as they operate out of compliance with state and federal laws, 2.45% were “potentially legitimate,” and 0.89% were accredited through VIPPS/Vet-VIPPS or approved through NABP’s eAdvertiser Approval Program.

An overwhelming 90% of the “not recommended” websites did not require a prescription to order prescription-only medications, and of those, 12% sold controlled substances. In addition, the elusive nature of the “not recommended” pharmacy websites is evident in NABP’s figures: 60% did not post a street address for the dispensing pharmacy, as required for legitimate pharmacies, and the domain names of 40% of the websites were registered anonymously.

NABP’s report also underscores the importance of the .pharmacy generic top-level domain, suggesting that a legitimate pharmacy’s use of .pharmacy — a potential gTLD that ICANN is expected to announce its decision on this summer — would clear up confusion for patients shopping for medicines online. NABP argues that a .pharmacy gTLD would create a “trustworthy online space for consumers worldwide to find legitimate, law-abiding Internet pharmacies” — a belief that LegitScript supports.

Read the full NABP report here.