MOUNT PROSPECT, Ill., Feb. 11 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Rogue Internet drug outlets will soon find it more difficult to advertise to unsuspecting consumers, thanks to Google's decision to require VIPPS® (Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites(CM)) accreditation. The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy® (NABP®) commends Google for the new restrictions the company has placed on Web sites selling prescription drugs that are seeking to advertise in the United States through Google AdWords.
"For too long, rogue Web sites posing as legitimate pharmacies have continued, unabated, to peddle substandard, tainted, and counterfeit drugs to unwitting patients," says NABP President Gary A. Schnabel, RN, RPh. "Google's policy change is a major step toward ridding the Internet of these operations, and we applaud Google's commitment to patient safety."
On February 9, 2010, Google announced in its Inside AdWords blog that the company will accept ads only from Internet pharmacies in the US that are accredited through the VIPPS program, and from Internet pharmacies in Canada that are accredited by the Canadian International Pharmacy Association. The revised policy allows Internet pharmacies to target ads only to patients in the country in which the pharmacies are accredited.
The AdWords blog indicates that, once the policy change goes into effect later in February 2010, ads for Internet drug outlets that are not accredited by VIPPS or CIPA will no longer appear in Google's sponsored search results.
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 5,000 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 thorough 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.
"Google's policy revision sets an important precedent in the international push to curb the proliferation of rogue Internet drug outlets," NABP President Schnabel notes. "We encourage other search engines to follow Google's lead and take a stand for patient safety."
More information on the VIPPS program, along with a list of VIPPS-accredited pharmacies, is available under Accreditation Programs on the NABP Web site, http://www.nabp.net.
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