Canada adopts VIPPS for on-line pharmacies

December 16, 2002

In a move to slow down cross-border Rx traffic, Canada has adopted the VIPPS program developed by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy as a seal of approval for Internet pharmacies.

 

TECHNOLOGY

Canada adopts VIPPS for on-line pharmacies

Canadian pharmacy officials have adopted the Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites program developed by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy, but on-line pharmacies that ship drugs into the United States will not be eligible for Canada's seal of approval.

Just like its American counterpart—NABP—the National Association of Pharmacy Regulatory Authorities (NAPRA) will thoroughly investigate the practices of on-line pharmacy applicants and issue a seal of approval—VIPPS Canada—to those that pass muster. However, any Internet pharmacy that dispenses prescriptions for cross-border shipment into the United States will be denied the VIPPS Canada certification.

"NAPRA is thrilled to be teaming with NABP in expansion of the VIPPS program into Canada," said NAPRA executive director Barbara Wells.

NABP has signed an agreement to license VIPPS to its Canadian colleagues for a fee, said executive director Carmen Catizone. NABP will also be paid a certain percentage of the fees paid by pharmacies seeking the VIPPS Canada designation.

"None of the sites shipping into the United States can have VIPPS certification because they are violating U.S. law," said Catizone. "The focus in Canada is on telling people to not use those pharmacies. The intent there is to get Canadian consumers to use just pharmacies with VIPPS. However, I doubt that they're doing anywhere the business of those pharmacies shipping into the United States."

The issue of Canadian pharmacies illegally shipping prescription drugs into the United States has been heating up recently as hard-pressed Americans without Rx coverage seek cheaper medications and new businesses spring up on both sides of the border to accommodate them. For example, some Canadian pharmacies are bombarding senior citizens with mass mailings that tout their 800-numbers instead of the Internet connection. And some Congressmen in border states sponsor bus trips to Canada so senior citizens can buy cheaper drugs. But so far, the Food & Drug Administration has not cracked down on the Rx traffic.

Carol Ukens

 



Carol Ukens. Canada adopts VIPPS for on-line pharmacies.

Drug Topics

2002;23:85.