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NABP calls for more collaboration to thwart illicit online drug sales
January 28th, 2013
MOUNT PROSPECT, Ill. – A report from the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) urges continued collaboration among global stakeholders to squelch public health threats presented by "rogue" Internet drug outlets.
NABP said Friday that the "Internet Drug Outlet Identification Program Progress Report for State and Federal Regulators: January 2013" details its progress over the past five years in providing data on illegal online drug sellers to public agencies and private entities to support policy efforts to shut these rogue sites.
The report gives an overview of the NABP Internet Drug Outlet Identification Program's research and education efforts during that time frame, including efforts to raise awareness about the increased likelihood that drug products bought online are substandard or counterfeit and to educate about the danger that websites illegally selling prescription drugs — including controlled substances — likely contribute to the prescription drug abuse epidemic in the United States.
As indicated in the report, NABP has reviewed more than 10,000 websites, and 97% were found to be operating out of compliance with U.S. pharmacy laws and are listed as "Not Recommended" on NABP's consumer protection site, AWARErx.org.
Key NABP collaborative efforts over the past five years to protect patients from unsafe products distributed by illicit online drug sellers include the following:
• Working with search engines Google, Bing and Yahoo to block online advertisements for rogue Internet drug outlets, which began in 2010.
• Participating with other stakeholders in a December 2010 White House forum to address the problem of counterfeit medications and their frequent distribution over the Internet.
• Participation in a June 2011 congressional briefing on rogue Internet drug outlets.
• Applying to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), with the support of a global coalition of stakeholders, in March 2012 to be the registry operator for the new .PHARMACY domain.
NABP said the 9,938 Internet drug outlets listed as "Not Recommended" comprise 4,839 websites that offer foreign drugs or medications not approved by the Food and Drug Administration; 8,701 sites that don't require a valid prescription; 2,302 sites with a physical address located outside of the United States (most rogue sites post no address at all); and 1,121 sites that dispense controlled substances.
To help consumers find safest outlets for buying medicine online, NABP offers the VIPPS (Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites) accreditation program. Consumers are urged to look for the VIPPS Seal on an accredited website or check NABP's database on its AWARErx.org site.
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