Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites (VIPPS) Facts
What is the VIPPS program?
Since its inception in 1999 by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP), the Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites (VIPPS) accreditation program has become the most trusted and respected means for the public to distinguish between legitimate and illegitimate online drug sellers.
The VIPPS program and its seal of approval assure the public that VIPPS retailers are legitimate online pharmacies appropriately licensed in each state to which they ship pharmaceuticals. Additionally, VIPPS retailers have successfully completed a rigorous 19-point criteria review and on-site survey. It is the only verification program supported by the Food and Drug Administration and Drug Enforcement Administration.
The VIPPS program is unique in that no other accreditation or verification program for online drug sellers covers as many areas as VIPPS, or does so as thoroughly. It is this criteria, and how it was developed, that sets the VIPPS program apart.
The Industry’s Toughest Standards
An online pharmacy must demonstrate compliance with a stringent set of criteria to qualify for VIPPS accreditation. Along with verification that the pharmacy is licensed in good standing by state boards, the VIPPS criteria includes questions in 19 Internet and practice-based areas, including:
- how the patient’s or caregiver’s identity is verified
- patient medication consultation
- the steps that are taken to ensure the patient’s confidentiality
- how medications are dispensed
- how controlled substance medications are secured and tracked when shipped to the patient.
The VIPPS program was developed by a coalition of state and federal regulatory associations, professional associations, and consumer advocacy groups. Because NABP accredits the online pharmacies based on criteria defined by regulators, consumers, and pharmacists, the public can rely on the VIPPS Seal to be assured that each patient receives the best in online pharmacy care. Currently, 15 pharmacy sites representing more than 12,000 pharmacies carry the VIPPS seal. Visit www.vipps.info to see the complete listing of VIPPS online pharmacies.
If I see a VIPPS logo, should I trust that online pharmacy?
Anyone can download the VIPPS graphic and place it on their pharmacy website. Rogue pharmacies have done it before. In fact we've got the logo right here so you can recognize it. What they can't do is add themselves to the VIPPS database at the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy's VIPPS website. Even if you see the VIPPS logo, you should check out the pharmacy at the VIPPS website.
Are there a lot of rogue pharmacy websites trying to get into the VIPPS program?
While we don't know how many pharmacies have applied to the VIPPS program, the NABP recently reviewed over 10,500 online pharmacies and found only 3% of them to be safe for consumers to order from.
Is there a VIPPS program for pet medications, too?
Yes, the Vet-VIPPS program functions much like the VIPPS program does for humans. You can find more information about the Vet-VIPPS program qualified websites at the NABP's Vet-VIPPS page.
Where can I learn more about the dangers of counterfeits and rogue pharmacies?
Watch this video below from 60 Minutes, which talks about the dangers of counterfeit drugs and the criminals that peddle them through rogue pharmacies.