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Report flags domain providers for ‘rogue’ Internet pharmacies

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PORTLAND, Ore. — A report by Internet compliance firms LegitScript and KnujOn has identified five Internet firms providing domain name registration services to so-called "rogue" Internet pharmacies that display fake pharmacy licenses or sell prescription drugs without a prescription.

LegitScript said this week that between December 2009 and April 2010, it and KnujOn provided 16 domain name registrars with evidence that their services were being abused by rogue online pharmacies. The evidence included letters from pharmacy licensing boards stating that the pharmacy licenses displayed on the web sites were forgeries and screen shots showing that the sites were selling prescription drugs like OxyContin or Viagra without a prescription.

According to the report, 11 of the registrars suspended services to the sites, but five others — eNom (DemandMedia), UK2Group, Moniker, CentroHost and Realtime Register — allowed some or all of the sites to continue using their paid services.

LegitScript is deemed by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy as the only independent online pharmacy verification program adhering to NABP standards. Knujon is a provider of online security solutions that specializes in thwarting e-mail-based threats, notably spam.

"We applaud Registrars like GoDaddy, SpiritDomains and Directi who acted swiftly to ensure that their registration services are not being used to facilitate criminal activity," LegitScript president John Horton said in a statement. "We urge eNom, UK2Group and CentroHost to explain why they are the only registrars that received evidence that these pharmacy licenses are forgeries but still allow these no-prescription-required web sites to use their paid services."

The report also criticizes Registrars eNom, Moniker and Realtime Register for allowing the continuing use of their services by web sites selling drugs like OxyContin, Xanax or "generic Viagra" without requiring a valid prescription.

LegitScript said the study focuses on an Internet drug ring called "EvaPharmacy" that consists of more than 8,000 online pharmacies that display fake pharmacy licenses, ostensibly from the United States and Canada. A test purchase from an eNom-registered EvaPharmacy site resulted in drugs that arrived from India without a prescription, according to LegitScript.

"Our research puts illicit pharmacy at the center of all cybercrime — spam, WHOIS fraud, malware and domain hijackings," commented Garth Bruen, president of KnujOn. "The dirty little secret about this kind of cybercrime is that it only exists because registrars tolerate it."

In March, Portland, Ore.-based LegitScript announced an alliance with SiteJabber.com, an online consumer protection service, to help consumers identify trustworthy prescription drug web sites and avoid fraudulent ones. At the time, LegitScript said it had classified over 35,000 prescription drug sites as "rogue" and approved more than 300 Internet pharmacies as legitimate.


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