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LegitScript shuts thousands of rogue online pharmacies
July 1st, 2013
PORTLAND, Ore. – LegitScript announced that it recently closed down more than 6,700 rogue Internet pharmacies.
The Internet pharmacy verification and monitoring firm said Friday that the move is part of Operation Pangea VI, an annual partnership of Interpol and several public and private entities that aims to combat counterfeit medicines and illegal, "no prescription required" drug sales.
According to LegitScript, the websites — which marketed drugs in English, Korean, Japanese, Chinese, Hebrew, Russian and multiple European languages — were selling falsified or substandard medicines, not requiring a prescription, and lacked required pharmacy licenses.
"These websites may market themselves as online pharmacies but in most cases don't have a valid pharmacy license at all," LegitScript president John Horton said in a statement.
LegitScript estimates that 97% of Internet pharmacies operate illegally, with just 3% classified as legitimate.
LegitScript, whose Internet pharmacy monitoring service is recognized on behalf of state pharmacy regulators by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy, works with domain name companies, search engines, payment service providers and regulatory authorities to help ensure compliance with applicable drug safety laws. The company's website, legitscript.com, provides Internet users with a free online pharmacy legitimacy checker and a free tool to check dietary supplement and herbal product safety.
LegitScript cited several ICANN-accredited domain name registrars that have taken action to prevent their registration platforms from being used to further illegal activity. The company said that about 80% of registrars — such as GoDaddy, eNom, Directi, Blacknight, Name.com, Moniker, Internet.bs and DomainContext — have firm policies against unlicensed drug sellers.
"Internet users should be aware that these registrars play an important role in reducing spam and fraud on the Internet," Horton stated.
LegitScript said that late last year it began releasing monthly statistics identifying the top ICANN-accredited registrars used by rogue Internet pharmacies.
"Illicit drug merchants cluster at a handful of domain name companies that ignore rogue Internet pharmacy abuse notifications," according to Horton. The company's May 2013 blog identified the top five registrars for illicit Internet pharmacies as China's TodayNic and BizCN, Joker.com of Germany, and Rebel and Tucows of Canada.
LegitScript added that along with the rogue pharmacy websites, it shut down 97 websites that were illegally selling steroids. The company reported that it has dismantled more than 40,000 rogue Internet pharmacies since 2009.