WINNIPEG, Manitoba — The Canadian International Pharmacy Association (CIPA) has been awarded the role of accrediting online pharmacy advertisements in Canada by Google AdWords.
Saying that "shopping for pharmacy medicine from google.ca just got safer," CIPA reported Monday that with the move, any pharmacy web sites looking to target ads to Canadian audiences on Google Canada must now be certified to meet CIPA safety and quality standards.
Earlier this month, the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy applauded Google for requiring online pharmacy advertisers targeting consumers in the United States through Google AdWords to show Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites (VIPPS) accreditation. NABP said the requirement makes it more difficult for "rogue" Internet drug outlets to advertise to unsuspecting consumers.
CIPA said that over the past eight years, millions of Canadian and U.S. consumers have come to trust the CIPA seal as a sign of safe medicine on the Internet. "CIPA has been and will continue to be a tireless advocate for consumer safety in distance care pharmacy. We look forward to working with Google to improve patient safety on the Internet," CIPA president Troy Harwood-Jones said in a statement.
Despite the positive steps toward improving safety for online pharmacy customers, CIPA noted that the proper certification and approval of international pharmacy ads still must be addressed by Google. The association explained that Google’s changes may curtail U.S. patients’ ability to locate and access safe, affordable medication from Canada and abroad because it removes legitimate international pharmacies from advertising on Google in the United States.
And eliminating international pharmacy ads isn’t the solution, CIPA pointed out. "Removing patient access in the U.S. will not remove patient need," Harwood-Jones commented. "Our web site and phone lines are constantly busy fielding inquiries from Americans who cannot afford the life-saving medicines they need at home. These American patients need guidance and direction to locate safe sources to buy online. We must do more than telling Americans to use google.ca to find the medicine they need."
Legitimate international pharmacies, such as CIPA members, still need to be able to have their U.S. ads reviewed and approved by an independent organization with expertise in international pharmacy, CIPA added. "As subject experts in this area, CIPA is eager to collaborate with Google and others to develop clear policies for international pharmacy ads built on appropriate safety standards," the association stated.
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