NABP says most online pharmacies illegal

Briefing at U.S. Capitol focuses on scope of problem, actions being taken

More than 96% of online pharmacies operate illegally, according to data presented by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) at a June 23 briefing in the Senate Visitor Center at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC.

Melissa Madigan, PharmD, JD, Policy and Communications Director for NABP, told the packed room that as of June 3, the NABP Internet Drug Outlet Identification Program had reviewed 8,207 online pharmacy websites, and that of these websites, NABP had identified 7,890 sites as acting in conflict with pharmacy laws and practice standards.

Madigan was joined on the panel by Bryan Liang, MD, PhD, JD, Vice President, Partnership for Safe Medicines, and Ilisa Bernstein, PharmD, JD, Deputy Director, Office of Compliance, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, FDA. The panel was hosted by the Partnership for Safe Medicines. APhA is a member of the Partnership.

“These are not pharmacists,” Bernstein said of the people behind the rogue websites described by Madigan. “These people who are selling the drugs over the Internet from these sites don’t know anything about pharmacy. They just want to make a buck. They don’t care about the patient that is going to be receiving these products.”

“The Internet has no borders and neither does this crime,” Liang said. “This is a global problem. It’s a multifaceted problem, so we need a global solution and a multifaceted solution. We need people to work together.”

Approximately 60 people attended the briefing.

To raise public awareness of the problem in an easy-to-understand format, NABP relaunched www.awarerx.org in February 2011.