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Indiana Adopts Legislation to Combat Illegitimate Online Pharmacies, Protect Residents From Counterfeit Drugs
Date:4/2/2008

MOUNT PROSPECT, Ill., April 2, 2008 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following is being released by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy:

Ordering prescription drugs online can be safe and convenient when patients use legitimate online pharmacies, but it is all too easy for patients to find themselves the recipients of counterfeit drugs from dishonest Web sites. The vast number of Web sites offering prescription drugs puts patients in "buyer beware" situations as it is often difficult for them to know if the site they are buying from is legitimate. While obtaining drugs from Internet sites that do not require prescriptions or other standard safety measures may be convenient for consumers, it can also be deadly.

According to the World Health Organization, counterfeit drug sales are expected to reach $75 billion globally in 2010, an increase of more than 90% from 2005 -- and the Internet is one of the largest contributors to the distribution of counterfeit drugs to individual consumers. Those especially at risk are people searching for medications at lower prices, seeking lifestyle drugs perceived to be embarrassing, and purposely looking for unauthorized treatment; however, all consumers purchasing drugs from unknown online drug distributors are at risk.

In an effort to protect its citizens from unscrupulous Web sites pretending to be legitimate Internet pharmacies, the state of Indiana passed legislation to help prevent such sites from doing business in its state. Governor Mitch Daniels signed into law Senate Bill 302, which, among other things, requires nonresident pharmacies utilizing the Internet to obtain VIPPS(R) (Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites(TM)) accreditation from the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy(R) (NABP(R)), or an equivalent program approved by the Indiana Board of Pharmacy, before shipping drugs into Indiana. The new law affects those nonresident pharmacies that dispense more than 25% of their prescription volume as a result of prescription orders received or solicited through the Internet and will be effective July 1, 2008.

NABP applauds Indiana for the strengthening of its regulation of Internet drug distributors. VIPPS accreditation helps patients identify legitimate online pharmacies that are licensed and in good standing and following good practices. In addition to combating counterfeit drugs, Indiana will have another weapon for prosecuting those Internet drug distributors that present themselves as pharmacies but do not provide proper instructions such as maximum daily dosages or warnings about drug interactions. A case in point is the death of actor Heath Ledger, where six drugs were detected in his body. The abuse of prescription drugs is on the rise, especially in teenagers, and such illegitimate drug distributors do much to exacerbate the problem.

Later this spring, NABP will launch the Internet Drug Distributor Identification program, which will provide even more information for consumers regarding online drug distributors. Through this program, NABP will proactively search for, identify, and list on the NABP Web site illegitimate drug distributors that are not properly licensed in the states where they are doing business. Information on noncompliant Internet drug distributors will be provided to the state boards of pharmacy and federal law enforcement authorities. The NABP Web site (http://www.napb.net) also contains a list of VIPPS-accredited pharmacies located under Accreditation/VIPPS/List of Pharmacies.

To be VIPPS accredited, online distributors must be licensed pharmacies in good standing with all applicable state boards of pharmacy, meet a rigorous 19-point criteria review, and successfully complete an on-site survey. Currently, 15 pharmacy sites representing more than 12,000 pharmacies carry the VIPPS seal. Indiana joins Kentucky and North Carolina in requiring VIPPS accreditation for Internet pharmacies practicing in their states. Nine additional states recognize the VIPPS accreditation in their regulations.

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.


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SOURCE National Association of Boards of Pharmacy
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