Online Drug Sellers Take Advantage of Drug Shortage Fears, Warns NABP

Fake Internet pharmacy sites prey on consumers’ fears about drug shortages as highlighted in a recent report from the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy® (NABP®).<!--more--> NABP notes that with critical shortages involving cancer, antibiotic, nutrition, and electrolyte-imbalance medicines, counterfeiters are taking advantage of a lucrative niche market for fake prescription medicine. NABP has reviewed more than 9,500 Web sites selling prescription drugs, and has found that 96% of these sites continue to operate out of compliance with United States pharmacy laws, fuel prescription drug abuse and misuse, and provide an outlet for counterfeit medicines to enter the US drug supply – all of which significantly endanger the health and safety of Americans.

NABP has identified several rogue drug sites affiliated with the counterfeit Avastin® scheme that sell unapproved medications from numerous foreign sources to US patients without a valid prescription, putting patients in danger. In addition, NABP has found that rogue Internet drug outlets are exploiting consumers’ concern over prescription drug shortages to spread misinformation and sell counterfeit and substandard drugs, such as erectile dysfunction medications – many of them knockoffs of legitimate brands – that are not in short supply.

The full NABP report, Internet Drug Outlet Identification Program Progress Report for State and Federal Regulators: April 2012, provides detailed findings on the characteristics of rogue Web sites.

To help consumers find safe sources for purchasing medicine online safely, NABP developed the VIPPS® (Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice SitesCM) accreditation program. The list of VIPPS-accredited pharmacies is available on the Find a VIPPS Online Pharmacy page. NABP also provides a list of Not Recommended Sites. Not Recommended sites are fake Internet pharmacies, known as “Internet drug outlets,” and based on NABP’s review, these sites appear to be out of compliance with state and federal laws or NABP patient safety and pharmacy practice standards.