NAPB finds only 4% of online drug sellers meet United States safety standards: uncontrolled substances still readily available without a prescription online.

For 6 years the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) has surveyed online drug sellers to investigate industry trends and has published their findings in their Internet Drug Outlet Identification Program Progress Report for State and Federal Regulators. Their most recent report, published in October 2014, found that 96% (10,473) of the 10,866 Internet drug outlets NABP reviewed were operating out of compliance with United States pharmacy laws and practice standards. Within that 96%, NABP found that 88% of drug sellers did not require a valid prescription, 12% dispensed controlled substances and 91% appeared to have affiliations with rogue networks of Internet drug outlets.

Only 4% of NABP's sample were a safe gamble for consumers. 2.36% (254) of the sites represented pharmacies that seemed to comply with United States laws. Another 1.26% (137) pharmacies had earned accreditation through the NABP's VIPPS, Vet-VIPPS or e-Advertiser Approval CM programs. The VIPPS and Vet-VIPP sites have successfully completed an accreditation process which includes a review of all policies and procedures and an on-site inspection of facilities. NABP's Approved e-Advertisers are businesses that have earned a different accreditation because they offer only limited pharmacy or other prescription drug-related services.

NABP's October 2014 report also highlighted how easily consumers can obtain controlled substances online. NABP's researchers searched online for five commonly abused prescription drugs and found that an average of three out of five of the top ten results for each search led to rogue pharmacy sites who would provide these medicines prescription-free. "While the number of rogue Internet drug outlets selling controlled substances has declined since the Ryan Haight Online Pharmacy Consumer Protection Act became effective in April 2009," the report notes, "there is still no shortage of addictive prescription medications readily available at the click of a mouse, without a valid prescription or medical oversight."

Read the Internet Drug Outlet Identification Program Progress Report for State and Federal Regulators, October 2104.

Learn more about fake online pharmacies by watching The Impacts of Fake Online Pharmacies on Patient Safety, a panel from the Partnership for Safe Medicine's 2014 Interchange (YouTube video).