I’m pleased to announce that today, LegitScript is launching a new website certification, monitoring and classification program: iCareRx, which focuses on online sellers of prescription eyeglasses. We’re launching the program with over 100 websites that sell prescription eyeglasses already classified and searchable in our database.
For several years, LegitScript has operated a certification program for Internet pharmacies, and a classification program for dietary supplements, that results in websites and products being green-lighted, yellow-lighted or red-lighted for search engine advertising programs and, increasingly, the world’s most popular payment schemes such as Visa and PayPal. Unfortunately, one of the hallmarks of the online pharmacy market is in how dirty it is, with 95% to 97% of websites being operated illegally. Similarly, a substantial number of dietary supplements either contain toxins or other problematic substances, or are marketed with false claims.
Luckily, the online market for prescription eyeglasses doesn’t appear to us to be as dirty. If you have a valid prescription for eyeglasses and want to comparison shop and fill your prescription online, there are a number of websites where you can do so safely and legally, and we don’t anticipate seeing the same sort of illegality that we see for online pharmacies (which remains extremely high). However, non-compliant websites in this market do exist: we’ve already identified a number of websites that operate unsafely by not adequately verifying a prescription for prescription eyeglasses, or that fail to disclose who or where they are. Our goal is to help Internet users tell the difference between the two.
Of the 100+ prescription eyeglasses websites already in our database, the vast majority currently have an “unverified” designation — a classification that is neutral in nature and indicates that the website is under review. None yet are designated as legitimate, but we expect that to change soon. We’ve designated four websites selling prescription eyeglasses as “unapproved,” meaning that we’ve verified some sort of non-compliance with our standards. This number will also increase, unfortunately, as we continue to dig into and investigate websites in this market.
Speaking of our standards, these were developed following consultation with several NGOs that represent eyewear medical professionals; prescription eyeglasses companies, and consumers/patients. Among the requirements: the seller must only dispense prescription eyeglasses upon receipt of a valid prescription or duplication of an existing pair of eyeglasses; compliance with HIPAA; website transparency (absence of misleading or fraudulent claims); and accurate, non-anonymous domain name registration.
Over the next several weeks and months, we look forward to providing further transparency to the Internet market for prescription eyeglasses. Visit legitscript.com/icarerx for more information, or query Internet eyeglass sellers at legitscript.com.