NABP rolls out .pharmacy domain for online Rx

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

MOUNT PROSPECT, Ill. — The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) has launched the .pharmacy generic top-level domain (gTLD), designed to provide consumers worldwide with an easy way to identify safe, legal online pharmacies and related resources.

Through its .Pharmacy gTLD Program, NABP said it will grant use of the .pharmacy domain to legitimate website operators that adhere to pharmacy laws in the jurisdictions where they are based and their customers reside.

Plans call for the first registration phase for .pharmacy domain names to start in November. That also will begin the “sunrise period,” a preliminary, limited registration period for trademark holders that have entered their trademarks into the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers Trademark Clearinghouse (ICANN). During that period, trademark holders can apply to NABP for approval to register their trademark name as a .pharmacy domain.

After the sunrise period, registration for .pharmacy domain names will be open to pharmacy websites accredited through the NABP Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites (VIPPS) and Veterinary-Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites (Vet-VIPPS) programs, as well as for pharmacy websites that have received approval through the NABP e-Advertiser Approval Program. NABP noted that these pharmacies and their websites have already undergone a thorough review process and established their compliance with NABP standards for legitimate online practice and are considered eligible to register a .pharmacy domain name.

Applications from other pharmacies seeking to register a .pharmacy domain name will be accepted starting in early 2015, NABP said. That phase will be followed by the general registration period, which will be open to any entity offering pharmacy-related products, services or information that meets .pharmacy eligibility standards.

Entities seeking a .pharmacy domain must first submit an application to NABP. Once approved, applicants can register the domain through an approved registrar.

NABP applied with ICANN to own and operate the .pharmacy gTLD in 2012. Though some opposition to NABP’s control of .pharmacy surfaced in 2013, earlier this year NABP was cleared to enter contract negotiations with ICANN to own and operate the domain name.

“Because rogue drug sellers continue to proliferate on the Internet, distributing dangerous counterfeit and substandard medications to consumers, the launch of the .pharmacy program is a significant step in protecting the public health, both in the US and other countries,” NABP president Joseph Adams said in a statement. “NABP is pleased to begin offering .pharmacy registration so that consumers can easily determine if the site they are using is an appropriately licensed, legitimate pharmacy operating in compliance with program and applicable regulatory standards.”

Garnering the support of an international advisory committee and the International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP), NABP noted that it has devised policies and procedures to ensure that only websites dispensing legitimate medications and operating in a safe, lawful manner can use a .pharmacy domain name.

The eligibility requirements were crafted to address concerns of domestic and international stakeholders about illegal online drug sellers distributing products that endanger patient health. Of tens of thousands of rogue sites selling prescription drugs online, NABP has reviewed more than 10,800 and found that nearly 97% don’t follow pharmacy laws and standards established to protect the public health.

Global stakeholders behind the .pharmacy initiative include the Alliance for Safe Online Pharmacies, Eli Lilly, the European Alliance for Access to Safe Medicines, FIP, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Gilead Sciences, Interpol, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, LegitScript, Merck, the National Association of Pharmacy Regulatory Authorities, Pfizer and state boards of pharmacy.


Comments are closed.