MOUNT PROSPECT, Ill. — The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy has lauded Microsoft and Yahoo for their new policies requiring Web sites selling prescription drugs to be accredited through NABP’s Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites (VIPPS) program.
NABP said this week that Microsoft’s policy will validate that online pharmacies advertising on the U.S. site of Bing.com, the software giant’s Web search and content portal. Ads for Internet drug outlets not accredited by VIPPS will no longer be permitted to display advertisements in Bing.com’s U.S. sponsored search results, NABP reported.
Likewise, online pharmacies lacking VIPPS accreditation won’t be allowed to display ads in the U.S. sponsored search results of Web search and content giant Yahoo.
"NABP is pleased to work with companies to help weed out rogue Internet drug outlets that place patient safety at risk for the purpose of profit," Gary Schnabel, NABP executive committee chairman, said in a statement. "We applaud Microsoft for barring these sites and for prioritizing consumer safety above advertising dollars."
"On behalf of the state boards of pharmacy, NABP is pleased to see Yahoo taking steps to protect the public health against rogue Internet drug outlets," commented NABP president William Winsley, MS, RPh. "We congratulate Yahoo on its conscientious decision to hold pharmacy advertisers accountable to the laws established in the U.S. to protect patient health."
In February, NABP applauded Web search and services giant Google for requiring online pharmacy advertisers to show VIPPS accreditation. And later that month, the Canadian International Pharmacy Association announced has been awarded the role of accrediting online pharmacy advertisements in Canada by Google AdWords.
NABP noted that three major search engines now limit their online pharmacy advertisers to those that are VIPPS-accredited. Google implemented its policy on March 1, and Microsoft and Yahoo followed on June 7.
The association said that over two years ago it began an intensive study of Web sites selling prescription drugs and thus far has found that, of the more than 6,000 Internet drug outlets it has reviewed, 96% appear to be out of compliance with pharmacy laws and practice standards. The association noted that these sites dispense dangerous prescription drugs to patients without a valid prescription or medical oversight, and the medications are often unapproved for sale in the United States or any other developed country — and are often substandard, contaminated or counterfeit.
Along with VIPPS, NABP has developed a complementary program, the NABP e-Advertiser Approval Program, that identifies legitimate Internet advertisers that offer only limited pharmacy services or other prescription drug-related services online.
*Editor’s Note: Story updated June 11 with the Yahoo VIPPS announcement.
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