The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy has released year end data on safe online pharmacies showing the rise of the “affiliate network.”

While the number of legitimate online pharmacies safe for Americans remains at 4% of all, the growth of fake online pharmacies out of compliance with U.S. pharmacy laws and practice standards appears to be strongly linked to the spread of underlying source organizations called “affiliate networks” that proliferate the internet with copies of their websites.

The NABP has published a report, “Internet Drug Outlet Identification Program Progress Report for State and Federal Regulators: January 2012” which identifies 8,456 so-called online pharmacies that are out of compliance with U.S. pharmacy laws and practice standards. Of those, 8,265 appear to be network affiliated, 98%.

The NABP staff identified websites that use the same phone number, physical address, domain name registrant, website design or web business name as those being part of a rogue affiliate network. A rogue affiliate network is a group of internet drug outlets operated by one organization, which are frequently operated outside of the U.S.

“The common perception in America is that a discount retailer out there on the internet can, because of lower costs of business elsewhere, provide medication at below U.S. market rates. What they don’t know is that the medications are all coming from the same counterfeiters in India and China, and that a giant conglomerate of organized crime runs these hundreds of millions of websites that advertise as if they were ‘mom and pop’ small pharmacies on the internet,” said Carmen Catizone, NABP’s Executive Director.

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The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy has released year end data on safe online pharmacies showing the rise of the “affiliate network.”

While the number of legitimate online pharmacies safe for Americans remains at 4% of all, the growth of fake online pharmacies out of compliance with U.S. pharmacy laws and practice standards appears to be strongly linked to the spread of underlying source organizations called “affiliate networks” that proliferate the internet with copies of their websites.

The NABP has published a report, “Internet Drug Outlet Identification Program Progress Report for State and Federal Regulators: January 2012” which identifies 8,456 so-called online pharmacies that are out of compliance with U.S. pharmacy laws and practice standards. Of those, 8,265 appear to be network affiliated, 98%.

The NABP staff identified websites that use the same phone number, physical address, domain name registrant, website design or web business name as those being part of a rogue affiliate network. A rogue affiliate network is a group of internet drug outlets operated by one organization, which are frequently operated outside of the U.S.

“The common perception in America is that a discount retailer out there on the internet can, because of lower costs of business elsewhere, provide medication at below U.S. market rates. What they don’t know is that the medications are all coming from the same counterfeiters in India and China, and that a giant conglomerate of organized crime runs these hundreds of millions of websites that advertise as if they were ‘mom and pop’ small pharmacies on the internet,” said Carmen Catizone, NABP’s Executive Director.

Indeed, the affiliate networks behind 98% of the NABPs unapproved list are among the 30 identified by researchers at the University of California San Diego. Those 30 affiliate networks with names like “RX-Promotion” and “World Pharmacy” control over 346,000,000 URLs using 54,220 domain names.

Says Tom Kubic, President and CEO of the Pharmaceutical Security Institute, “Don’t support counterfeiters! You can avoid dealing with crooks by following the common sense guidelines found in the Partnership for Safe Medicine’s consumer handout, ‘Save Money Safely On Your Prescriptions from Online Pharmacies.”

To learn mroe about how fake pharmacy affiliate networks operate, read the series entitled “Pharma Wars” by investigative reporter Brian Krebs.

Download a copy of the affiliate network graphic.

By S. Imber