[UPDATE: We went back on line Tuesday. Thanks for your patience! — JCH]
I’ve asked our developers to briefly turn off our free public search for rogue internet pharmacies and problematic supplements and other healthcare products, probably for just a few days. I know that many internet users rely on our free search tools to make informed decisions about online pharmacies and supplement websites, and I’m sorry that we’ve had to make this decision. So, I thought I’d take a moment to explain why we’re hitting the off-switch for a few days.
At LegitScript, we’re proud to make some of our data available for free on a one-by-one basis. We do this in order to help protect public health. But we also have to pay the bills and keep the lights on, and our data is an important part of the value we bring to our customers, whether through the direct sale of our data, or how our data supports our monitoring and compliance services. We have a team of experts, including attorneys, pharmacists, cybercrime analysts and others, that spends a lot of time curating the data. Accordingly, we’re okay when people want to make a handful of queries here and there — whether that’s a consumer seeking to make an informed healthcare choice, or a company who wants to do a couple of lookups — but we aren’t able to give our entire data set away for free.
Unfortunately, over the last several months, we’ve seen a real pick-up in attempts to harvest this data. (To be clear, it’s only the data that’s available for free on a one-by-one search basis and not in bulk — no other data is at risk.) We monitor this, of course, and on a few occasions have reached out to those who have engaged in the harvesting to ask them to stop, and have explained that it’s a violation of our terms. But over the last day or so, we’ve seen a randomized attempt to harvest this data from a variety of IP addresses designed to obfuscate the users’ identities, and it’s a fairly sophisticated attempt to get our information. Accordingly, we’re going to need to implement some additional steps to protect our data, and I’ve asked our developers to temporarily take free search offline until those steps get implemented.
That shouldn’t take long, but free search will be offline for a few days. It’s unfortunate when a few bad actors ruin the experience for the rest of us, and I apologize to any users who are inconvenienced. Feel free to drop us a note at [email protected] (or comment on this blog) if you have any feedback, and we’ll do our best to get back online within a few days.