Valerie DeBenedette is a medical news writer in Putnam County, N.Y.
Several social networks, now including Snapchat, are asking pharmacies to obtain verification from NABP.
Snapchat has changed its advertising policy about pharmacies. American and Canadian online pharmacies that want to run ads on its platform must be verified by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP). The site has required that all prescription drug or healthcare service advertising be limited to those that have been approved in each of the countries targeted by the ads.
The change comes at a time when greater regulation of online pharmacies on social media is needed to prevent the sale of counterfeit drugs, according to the NABP. In addition to Snapchat, the internet sites Google, Bing, Yahoo!, and Twitter require that pharmacy-related advertisers obtain NABP verification. Twitter added the requirement earlier this year.
“Our hope is that more social media sites follow these companies in putting patient safety first,” says NABP President Susan Ksiazek, RPh, DPh, in a statement.
Facebook-the largest social media site, with two billion members-does not allow ads that promote “the sale or use of illegal, prescription, or recreational drugs,” according to its advertising policies. The site also does not allow ads that promote the sale or use of unsafe supplements, as determined by Facebook.
The NABP’s .Pharmacy Program verifies the safety and legitimacy of pharmacy and pharmacy-related websites. The organization offers two verification products: the .Pharmacy Verified Websites Program, which verifies pharmacy-related websites worldwide, and the Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites program, which accredits U.S.-based pharmacies with a web presence.
“Consumers who buy medicines from NABP-verified websites can be confident they are buying medicine from trustworthy, legitimate pharmacies,” according to the organization. A website that has been verified by NABP will have .pharmacy at the end of its web address. A list of safe online pharmacies and related resources can be found on the Find a Safe Site section of www.safe.pharmacy. For more information on the .Pharmacy Program and how to apply for a .pharmacy domain name, visit www.nabp.pharmacy/safe.