New Internet Domain Name .PHARMACY Will Foster Patient Safety

In light of the threat of illegal online pharmacies, the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) announced their application to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) to own and operate a secure and vetted .PHARMACY domain for licensed Internet pharmacies.

The April 2013 report from the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) illustrates the patient safety threat from illegal online pharmacies by showing that of more than 10,000 Web sites they analyzed, nearly 97% operate out of compliance with pharmacy laws and practice standards established in the US. To combat that threat, they have announced their application to ICANN for .PHARMACY, which will be available only to legally operating online pharmacies, who follow the rules and regulations in the jurisdictions in which they are based.

The NABP, founded in 1904, is the ideal professional organization to lead this effort, as they provide impartial support for state boards of pharmacy in their mandate to protect public health. They already operate the Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites (VIPPS and VetVIPPS) online accreditation programs, and they routinely publish the results of their ongoing efforts to evaluate online drug sellers in their Internet Drug Outlet Identification Program Progress Report. Dr. Marvin D. Shepherd, Director for Center for Pharmacoeconomic Studies at University of Texas-Austin and PSM Board President has said “The NABP have a long history of protecting patients with their online pharmacy programs.”

What makes the .PHARMACY domain different from all other previous efforts at combatting illegal online drug sellers is that it will require all domain applicants to demonstrate compliance with not only the pharmacy laws in the country where they operate, but also the pharmacy laws in every country where they do business. The NABP will administer domains for websites that operate or seek to conduct business within the United States, and advisory councils for each country will have the same administrative role in their respective nations. Dr. Bryan Liang , E. Donald Shapiro Distinguished Professor, Executive Director, Institute of Health Law Studies, California Western School of Law and PSM Board Vice-President remarked upon learning of the .PHARMACY, “The threat of counterfeits from fake online pharmacies is very real. The .PHARMACY domain, as designed by NABP, is a strong global response to a problem often complicated by jurisdictional boundaries. Patients will be safer as a result.”

By S. Imber