NABP Applauds VIPPS-Accreditation Requirement for Internet Pharmacy Advertisers

MOUNT PROSPECT, Ill., June 7 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy® (NABP®) commends Microsoft for its new policy regarding Web sites selling prescription drugs. Microsoft now requires that online pharmacies be accredited through the Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites(CM) (VIPPS(CM)) program to validate that those advertising on Bing.com's US site meet the highest of standards for consumer protection practices. Ads for Internet drug outlets that are not accredited by VIPPS will no longer be permitted to display advertisements in Bing.com's US sponsored search results.

"NABP is pleased to work with companies to help weed out rogue Internet drug outlets that place patient safety at risk for the purpose of profit," says NABP Executive Committee Chairman Gary A. Schnabel, RN, RPh. "We applaud Microsoft for barring these sites and for prioritizing consumer safety above advertising dollars."

Since the advent of its VIPPS program more than a decade ago, NABP has been working to protect patients from rogue Internet drug outlets that circumvent pharmacy laws and practice standards established to protect patient health. In February 2008, NABP began an intensive study of Web sites selling prescription drugs and has found that, of the more than 6,000 Internet drug outlets NABP has reviewed, 96% appear to be out of compliance with pharmacy laws and practice standards. These sites dispense dangerous prescription drugs to patients without a valid prescription or medical oversight. The drugs are often unapproved for sale in the US – or any other developed country – and are often substandard, contaminated, or counterfeit.

By contrast, VIPPS-accredited pharmacies have undergone and successfully completed the thorough NABP accreditation process, which includes a review of all policies and procedures regarding the practice of pharmacy and dispensing of medicine over the Internet, as well as an on-site inspection of all facilities used by the site to receive, review, and dispense medicine. For this reason, NABP recommends that patients use VIPPS-accredited Internet pharmacies when buying medicine online.

Because the VIPPS accreditation program is structured to address licensed pharmacies engaged in the practice of pharmacy and a full range of defined business activities online, NABP has developed a complementary program, the NABP e-Advertiser Approval Program, that identifies legitimate Internet advertisers that offer only limited pharmacy services or other prescription drug-related services online.

Schnabel says, "We are pleased to see this forward momentum in the protection of the public health."

More information on the VIPPS program, along with a list of VIPPS-accredited pharmacies, is available on the NABP Web site at http://www.nabp.net/programs/accreditation/vipps.

NABP is the independent, international, and impartial Association that assists its member boards and jurisdictions in developing, implementing, and enforcing uniform standards for the purpose of protecting the public health.

SOURCE National Association of Boards of Pharmacy



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