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NABP Position Paper Calls for Action Against Proliferation of Rogue Internet Drug Outlets

MOUNT PROSPECT, Ill., May 5 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy(R) (NABP(R)) released a position paper on May 5, 2009, examining the flagrant lawlessness of Web sites selling prescription medicine over the Internet. "To see why this 'wild west' of an electronic marketplace is a problem, one need only follow the trail of dead and injured patients," the paper asserts. The "State of the Internet: NABP Position Paper on the Continued Proliferation of Rogue Internet Drug Outlets" calls to task the various parties whose activities allow this trend to continue and challenges lawmakers and regulators to rein in this dangerous underground marketplace.

In the document, NABP revisits the call to action of its 2003 "Position Paper on the Importation of Foreign Prescription Drugs," which states that "[p]urchasing medications from unknown and illegal sources via the Internet and other means is compromising the US medication distribution system and making US citizens vulnerable to bioterrorism attacks." The 2009 position paper notes that, "[i]n the six years since NABP called attention to this situation, little has changed."

The current position paper clearly elucidates the laws and practice standards pertaining to the dispensing of prescription medicine and poses the question, "[s]o then why, out of 1,351 Internet drug outlets assessed by NABP as of January 2009, do 1,183 (88%) of them continue, unhindered, to offer prescription drugs without a valid prescription?" The paper goes on to identify several avenues through which rogue Internet drug outlets continue to skirt the laws established to protect patient health and safety.

"An alarming number of Internet drug outlets advertising on search engines flagrantly offer prescription medicine, including controlled substances, without a valid prescription... Many of these sites violate the recently adopted Ryan Haight Online Pharmacy Consumer Protection Act, which prohibits the dispensing of controlled substance medications over the Internet without a valid prescription that has included a face-to-face physical examination," the position paper states.

NABP also points out the untrustworthiness of supposedly safe foreign Internet drug outlets. "Many sites purporting to be Canadian pharmacies, for instance, sell medications that are not approved under Canadian regulations, and many have no discernable ties to Canada whatsoever," the paper states. NABP further calls attention to the unreliability of Web site domain name registration information and the lack of accountability of the registrars and Internet service providers that sell and host these illegally operating Web sites. The paper also implicates the credit card companies that process financial transactions involving illegal sales of prescription medicines.

The current position paper, like its 2003 precursor, calls on lawmakers, regulators, and others in a position to safeguard the public health to curtail the illegal sales of prescription medicine online. As consumer use of Internet drug outlets grows exponentially and has shifted to purchasing controlled substances, NABP foresees the possibility of "a complete compromise of the US drug distribution system, and subsequent patient injury or death" and stresses the urgency to address the problem. In light of this public health threat, NABP reaffirms its commitment to educate patients on the potential dangers of purchasing prescription medicine online and empower them to make informed choices.

The complete position paper is posted under News/Press on the NABP Web site, at

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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