NABP to vet internet pharmacies

May 10, 2012

The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy wants to vet internet pharmacies that will be applying for a .pharmacy domain name and to warn about how rogue internet sites are preying on consumers' fears about drug shortages.

The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) wants to vet internet pharmacies that will be applying for a .pharmacy domain name and to warn about how rogue internet sites are preying on consumers’ fears about drug shortages.

NABP, with the support of a global coalition of stakeholders, applied to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers to become the official registry that will operate the new .pharmacy generic Top-Level Domain (gTLD). In its proposal, the NABP said it would like to develop guidelines for vetting each internet pharmacy or other prescription drug-related entity applying for a .pharmacy domain name and develop best practices for the .pharmacy gTLD.

NABP also wants to launch a consumer education campaign to raise awareness and build trust in the .pharmacy domain. The measures would help the .pharmacy gTLD be a “powerful tool to educate consumers, distinguish legitimate internet pharmacies from the thousands of rogue internet drug outlets, and reinforce the value of purchasing medications only from trustworthy online sources,” NABP stated in its May 2012 newsletter.

Meanwhile, the NABP issued a report to raise awareness about how rogue internet sites are preying on consumers’ fears about drug shortages. The report found that 96% of the more than 9,500 websites analyzed continue to operate out of compliance with U.S. pharmacy laws and provide an outlet for counterfeit medications to enter the U.S. drug supply.

According to NABP, one of the most prevalent schemes relating to drug shortage fears, is internet sites that are selling counterfeit Avastin, used to treat cancer. Multiple vials of counterfeit Avastin were purchased by 19 medical clinics in the United States from Montana Healthcare Solutions. The proprietor owns several pharmaceutical-related businesses in Barbados, and around 3,000 website domain names, according to the report.