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NABP pursues .pharmacy domain for online Rx
April 15th, 2013
MOUNT PROSPECT, Ill. – The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) envisions a safer online environment for buying medications with its proposed .pharmacy domain suffix.
NABP said Monday that it expects the results of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) review process for the .pharmacy generic top-level domain (gTLD) to be released by this summer. The association applied for the .pharmacy gTLD in June 2012 as part of ICANN's expansion of available gTLDs, which include familiar suffixes such as .edu, .gov and .com.
In its application, NABP stated the importance of ensuring that only legitimate website operators that adhere to pharmacy laws in the jurisdictions where they're based and to which they sell medicine will be able to register domain names in .pharmacy.
NABP said it will make the new domain available to legitimate online pharmacies and related entities located in the United States and other nations. The association noted that in developing the .pharmacy proposal, it has partnered with global regulators, pharmacy organizations, and law enforcement agencies sharing its concerns about illegal online drug sellers distributing products that endanger patient health.
"The ultimate benefactors of NABP's vision for this new gTLD will be the health care community and patients worldwide, who will be assured that all pharmacy sites ending in the .pharmacy gTLD are safe and legitimate," NABP president Michael Burleson said in a statement. "By vetting .pharmacy registrants for compliance with international standards, NABP seeks to protect patients worldwide from the health risks that can result when drug sellers circumvent supply chain safeguards."
Stakeholders supporting NABP's application include the Alliance for Safe Online Pharmacies, Eli Lilly and Co., the European Alliance for Access to Safe Medicines, Gilead Sciences Inc., the International Pharmaceutical Federation, Interpol, Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc., LegitScript, Merck, the National Association of Pharmacy Regulatory Authorities, Neustar Inc. and state boards of pharmacy.
NABP reported that as of January 2013, it had reviewed 10,275 Internet drug outlets selling prescription medications and found that 9,938 websites, or 97%, weren't in compliance with U.S. pharmacy laws and practice standards. And of the 9,938 sites identified as "Not Recommended," almost half offer foreign or non-Food and Drug Administration-approved drugs to U.S. residents, and many distribute counterfeit medicines, according to NABP.