The North Carolina News and Observer featured CSIP’s launch of VerifyBeforeYouBuy.org, which includes a state council of supporters – the North Carolina Secretary of State, AARP, the Academy of Family Physicians, Health and Human Services, the Chamber of Commerce, the Council of Churches and other advocacy organizations.
The site features a search tool where consumers can test their online pharmacy to learn whether it is safe or illegitimate. This effort is in response to statistics by the FDA and National Association of Boards of Pharmacy, which show that 97% of online pharmacies are fake. The campaign is designed to help create awareness of the prevalence of sophisticated counterfeiters who are targeting innocent consumers and endangering their health and safety.
In the article, by David Ranii, the North Carolina Secretary of State Elaine Marshall cited the effort of the website to “drive down demand” for counterfeit drugs by educating consumers about this significant health and safety concern.
CSIP Executive Director Marjorie Clifton emphasized that counterfeiters are making up to $1 million a day preying on consumers, so they find any way they can to confuse buyers. They even pose as Canadian pharmacies, which have a good reputation with American consumers. A recent CSIP study indicates that 56 percent of online shoppers “planned to purchase future medications online, and 98 percent of prescription drug shoppers believe buying medicine online is perfectly safe.” Clifton highlighted the challenging task of exposing fraudulent pharmacy websites due to their sophisticated methods of spoofing legitimate websites.
Clifton also noted recent efforts by CSIP to enhance awareness of VerifyBeforeYouBuy.org via targeted ads to North Carolina consumers in various social media and on major search engines such as Google and Microsoft’s Bing. Both Google and Microsoft are CSIP members, along with other major internet stakeholders, including domain hosting providers GoDaddy and Rightside, internet service provider Yahoo!, social media platform Facebook, worldwide shipper UPS, and credit card and payment processor companies American Express, Discover, Mastercard, and PayPal.
CSIP and the growing coalition of supporting organizations are working to expand the adoption and promotion of VerifyBeforeYouBuy.org in other U.S. states.