The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) recently issued the Internet Drug Outlet Identification Program Progress Report for State and Federal Regulators: April 2015. The report focuses on the need to further educate the public about the dangers of unapproved drugs and other risks of buying medications online.
According to the report, the threat posed by illegal online drug sellers underscores the necessity of ongoing consumer education efforts. The report specifically highlights consumer outreach being done through NABP’s Pharmacy Top-Level Domain (TLD) and AWARxE Prescription Drug Safety programs.
The report details NABP’s data collected on websites selling medicine illegally online to United States patients since 2008. In that time:
- NABP has reviewed nearly 11,000 Internet drug outlets, finding that 96.2% (10,544) of the sites reviewed operate out of compliance with US pharmacy laws and practice standards.
- Approximately 88.3% of “Not Recommended” sites are selling prescription drugs without requiring a valid prescription.
- Nearly 62% do not provide a valid address and 50% offer drugs that are either foreign, or not approved by the US Food and Drug Administration.
- Further, of the 10,521 Not Recommended sites, 91% can be traced to affiliate networks of rogue Internet drug outlets; and
- More than 12% dispense controlled substances in violation of US laws and regulations.
Consumer education is one of NABP’s primary goals, and like CSIP, the Association is sharing patient safety information through various media. They encourage consumers to look for the Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites (VIPPS) Seal on an accredited site and check NABP’s list of accredited sites on its prescription drug safety website. At CSIP, we recommend that consumers check all online pharmacy sites before they buy using our LegitScript Pharmacy Verification Tool, and educate themselves about the dangers of illegitimate online pharmaceuticals and pharmacies.
The Center for Safe Internet Pharmacies (CSIP) and our 13 member companies have the shared goal of helping address the growing problem of consumer access to illegitimate pharmaceutical products on the Internet. Continue to read this blog for updates on CSIP’s education, enforcement and information-sharing efforts.