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Internet Pharmacy Safeguards, We Salute You

As I wrote in December 2015, some Internet commerce companies—including domain name registries, registrars, advertising providers, social media platforms, payment processors and shippers—are doing right by patients in taking voluntary action against illegal online drug sellers. This is no small feat as 97% of the roughly 35,000 active online drug sellers are operating illegally. These sites offer prescription medicines without a prescription, peddle fake or unapproved medications, and/or don’t have the required pharmacy licensure. Worse, Internet consumers don’t realize that these online drug sellers put their health and financial security at risk. A recent report by LegitScript done for the Center for Safe Internet Pharmacies (CSIP), The Internet Pharmacy Market in 2016, highlights current trends and challenges in the Internet pharmacy market and showcases how voluntary actions by private sector companies are helping to curb the problem.

The Alliance for Safe Online Pharmacies—Global (ASOP Global) applauds responsible voluntary action by Internet commerce companies and encourages other companies to follow suit. While ASOP Global and our members and nonprofit partners, including CSIP, the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy, and ASOP-EU among others, are doing our best to educate consumers about the dangers of illegal online drug sellers, controlling the “demand side” is only one part of the complex patient safety equation.

Curbing the “supply side” is also critical. Fortunately, voluntary action by Internet commerce companies can and does reduce the “supply side” of this problem. By refusing to provide service to online drug sellers who violate the companies’ terms of service Internet commerce companies make it increasingly difficult for rogue online pharmacy operators to setup a merchant account for payments, establish a “brand” on a specific domain name, and become visible to consumers through online ads.

The voluntary action of Internet commerce companies to protect patients should be widely known and honored. To that end, ASOP Global is proud to announce the creation of the “INTERNET PHARMACY SAFETY E-COMMERCE LEADERSHIP AWARD.”

ASOP Global welcomes the nomination of registries, registrars, advertising providers, payment processors, shippers, other e-commerce companies, organizations or related individuals who have evidenced a commitment to improving patient safety online. ASOP Global plans to honor the award recipients during ICANN57 this fall.

Nominations should include:

  1. The name of the nominee (company or individual),
  2. A summary of efforts to improve patient safety online, e.g. corporate terms of service or policies, actions, or external activities, and;
  3. Data on the impact of such efforts, if available, e.g. percentage of rouge online pharmacy domains/ads/payments, visibility stats on consumer campaigns, data on enforcement actions taken against merchant accounts, etc.

ASOP Global encourages you to nominate yourself, an organization or other individual for the inaugural Internet Pharmacy Safety E-Commerce Leadership Award. Please send all nominations to: [email protected] The nomination period will remain open until 5:00pm EDT on Friday, July 15, 2016.

Libby Baney
Executive Director
Alliance for Safe Online Pharmacies (ASOP Global)

The Alliance for Safe Online Pharmacies (ASOP Global) is a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting patient safety online. ASOP Global does work in the US, EU and Asia. For more information, please visit: http://www.safeonlinerx.com and follow us at @safeonlinerx.

By Libby Baney, Policy Consultant, Lawyer, Advisor to ASOP Global and CSTI

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Multinational pharmaceutical company capture of Internet governance Gabriel Levitt  –  Sep 13, 2016 1:31 PM

Protecting patients from dangerous prescription drug-selling websites is the right thing to do but that does not mean bestowing moral credibility on “non-profit” groups that are funded almost entirely by pharmaceutical companies and U.S. pharmacy trade associations. Please read my article on these pages for a more progressive paradigm of Internet governance and online access to medication - one that recognizes high drug prices as an obstacle to patient safety.


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