Tag Archives: online pharmacies

Rightside Doing Its Bit For a Safer Internet, One Domain at a Time

Rightside logoRightside has published a blog post to promote the work it’s doing to make the internet a safer place. It is, says Rightside, the right thing to do and ensures a better reputation for the domain name industry as a whole.

Recently their efforts were awarded with recognition by the Alliance for Safe Online Pharmacies (ASOP) and the Internet UK’s Watch Foundation (IWF).

ASOP presented its first Internet Pharmacy Safety E-Commerce Leadership Award to Rightside and domain registrar Realtime Register at ICANN58 in Copenhagen in March. As illegal online pharmacies proliferate across the internet, Rightside’s policies and practices have helped to shut down sites and prevent domain names from being used to distribute illegal, fake and dangerous drugs. This has led to a “near zero count of illegal internet pharmacies” using Rightside’s services, despite having hundreds of thousands of domains under management.

Rightside’s VP for Business and Legal Affairs, Statton Hammock, accepted the award at the GNSO Joint Meeting for the Registries and Registrars Stakeholder Group at ICANN58. “Rightside is pleased to be recognized for its ongoing efforts to shut down illegal pharmacies on both its registrar and registry platforms. The access to, and distribution of, unsafe medications to consumers without a license is a serious global public health risk and Rightside is glad to participate with other companies to address this problem.”

With hundreds of millions of domain names in the wild, the unfortunate fact is that when even a small percentage of them are used to distribute illegal imagery of child abuse, it is still far too many. While 80% of the domains identified as containing child abuse content were found in just five TLDs (.COM, .NET, .SE, .IO, and .CC), the problem is growing across the internet, including in new gTLDs. To do their part, Rightside participates in IWF’s Domain Alerts programme, to expedite the process of removing the offending domain at the registry level.

Alan Woods, Rightside’s Registry Compliance Manager has worked closely with IWF to ensure the registry can respond to Domain Alerts quickly and efficiently. “We believe that the IWF partnership provides an important protection, not only for all of Rightside’s registrants, and the general internet user, but [also for] the well-being of Rightside’s own Abuse Team in processing such reports,” he says. “[A]s one of the first new gTLD registries to partner with the IWF, [Rightside] sees the benefit of membership in establishing gTLD best practices to protect all web users worldwide from malicious actors.”

US Pharmacy Association Extends List of Not Recommended Websites, Pushes Use of .PHARMACY

The US National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) issued a report this week discussing the continued need to fight against illegal online drug sellers, as they contribute to the America’s prescription opioid epidemic.As noted in the Internet Drug Outlet Identification Program Progress Report for State and Federal Regulators: January 2016, the total number of websites classified as Not Recommended by NABP has grown to 10,668 due to the fact that the websites are selling prescription medications out of compliance with US state and federal laws and/or NABP patient safety and pharmacy practice standards. The Association has been collecting data on websites selling medicine in the United States since 2008.The need to educate consumers about the dangers of purchasing prescription drugs without a valid prescription is growing. Prescription opioid pain relievers are involved in more overdose deaths than any other opioid overdose deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In addition, prescription drugs remain common drugs of abuse. A recent study showed that Twitter, which is used by a third of teenagers and young adults, has become a popular way for rogue online drug sellers to share links to their websites. A significant percentage of the youth population has used prescription drugs non-medically, thus the Twitter connection is worrisome.Of the more than 10,668 Internet drug outlets identified by NABP as Not Recommended, just over 60% do not have a location posted on the website. It is important to note that many rogue pharmacies that do not post an address sell potentially dangerous counterfeit medications. More than 50% of rogue websites offer drugs that are either foreign or not approved by the US Food and Drug Administration. Further, 90% appear to have affiliations with rogue networks of Internet drug outlets.NABP strives to uphold the integrity of the practice of pharmacy – in any practice setting – to ensure that patients worldwide have access to safe and effective prescription drugs. The Association’s .Pharmacy Top-Level Domain (TLD) Program shows NABP’s commitment to making it easy for consumers to identify safe, legitimate online pharmacies. Simply looking at online drug seller websites and seeing .pharmacy will confirm that the information on the website is valid.Unlike a .com, only legitimate Internet pharmacies and pharmacy-related websites qualify for .pharmacy domains. As of December 31, 2015, NABP has granted approval for 351 domain names and 230 have been registered, including such high-profile pharmacies as CVS, Express Scripts, PetMed Express, Target, and Rite-Aid. The .pharmacy registered domains are made up of 185 pharmacies, 33 boards of pharmacy and regulatory agencies, six resource sites, four manufacturers, and two professional sites.More information about the .pharmacy TLD, including a list of approved entities with registered .pharmacy domain names, is available at www.safe.pharmacy.For the full report with detailed findings on the characteristics of rogue websites and the list of Not Recommended sites, visit the Acquire Safely section of www.AWARErx.pharmacy.

NABP Meets With Leaders Around the World to Collaborate on Solutions for Protecting Consumers From Illegal Online Drug Sellers

NABP logoToday, the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) issued a report discussing the importance of international collaboration in the fight against illegal online drug sellers. As detailed in the Internet Drug Outlet Identification Program Progress Report for State and Federal Regulators: October 2015, there is widespread agreement among multiple countries that Internet sales of medicinal products pose a health risk to their citizens. Additionally, authorities have reported an increase in illegitimate Internet pharmacies, and many agree that international cooperation is critical to solving this expanding global phenomenon.

NABP remains committed to upholding the integrity of the practice of pharmacy – in any practice setting – and ensuring that patients worldwide have access to safe and effective prescription drugs. Since 2008, the Association has been collecting data on websites selling medicine illegally online to United States patients. NABP has reviewed over 11,000 Internet drug outlets, finding that 96.1% of the sites reviewed operate out of compliance with US pharmacy laws and practice standards, and identifying these sites as “Not Recommended.” Approximately 88% of Not Recommended sites are selling prescription drugs without requiring a valid prescription. Nearly 50% offer drugs that are either foreign, or not approved by the US Food and Drug Administration. Further, of the 10,588 Not Recommended sites, 90% can be traced to affiliate networks of rogue Internet drug outlets.

Guided by a global coalition of stakeholders, NABP’s .Pharmacy Top-Level Domain (TLD) Program exemplifies how countries can work together to keep consumers safe from such sites. Only legitimate Internet pharmacies and pharmacy-related websites will qualify for .pharmacy domains, giving consumers worldwide a way to distinguish safe and legal online pharmacies and resources from rogue sites. NABP has established relationships with regulators in multiple countries to review .pharmacy domain name applications for applicants located in or doing business in those countries. NABP continues to develop relationships and has participated in meetings of such international organizations as the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation in Cebu, Philippines, and the International Pharmaceutical Federation World Congress of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences 2015 in Düsseldorf, Germany. During these meetings NABP representatives interacted with representatives from countries in Asia, Africa, Europe, and South America, several of whom expressed interest in participating in the .Pharmacy TLD Program.

More information about the .pharmacy TLD, including a list of approved entities with registered .pharmacy domain names, is available at www.safe.pharmacy.

For the full report with detailed findings on the characteristics of rogue websites and the list of Not Recommended sites, visit www.AWARErx.org.

NABP is the independent, international, and impartial Association that assists its state member boards and jurisdictions for the purpose of protecting the public health.

This news release was sourced from:
www.nabp.net/news/nabp-meets-with-leaders-around-the-world-to-collaborate-on-solutions-for-protecting-consumers-from-illegal-online-drug-sellers

NABP Stresses Need for Accountability in Enforcing Internet Policies to Protect the Public From Illegal Online Drug Sellers

NABP logo[news release] Today (31/7), the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) in the US issued a report urging greater accountability by the stakeholders charged with ensuring that action is taken against websites illegally selling medications online. As detailed in the Internet Drug Outlet Identification Program Progress Report for State and Federal Regulators: July 2015, thousands of websites illegally distribute medications and avoid retribution.
Such sites often distribute dangerous counterfeit drugs, putting at risk the health of the consumers who use them. Many of these rogue sites use domain names obtained from a small number of registrars who turn a blind eye to their illegal activity. The report highlights the need for the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) and domain name registrars – the stakeholders responsible for facilitating the use of Internet domain names – to enforce policies forbidding illegal use of websites and to take more accountability for shutting down rogue sites.As noted in the report, NABP holds online drug sellers accountable to the laws and standards that govern pharmacy practice and, since 2008, the Association has been collecting data on websites selling medicine illegally online to United States patients. NABP has reviewed over 11,000 Internet drug outlets, finding that 96.13% of the sites reviewed operate out of compliance with US pharmacy laws and practice standards, and identifying these sites as “Not Recommended.” Approximately 85% of Not Recommended sites are selling prescription drugs without requiring a valid prescription. Nearly 50% offer drugs that are either foreign, or not approved by the US Food and Drug Administration. Further, of the 10,588 Not Recommended sites, 87% can be traced to affiliate networks of rogue Internet drug outlets.Websites illegally selling drugs to patients in the US and in other countries hide behind the anonymity of the Internet, and in the gray areas between enforcement boundaries where the question of who should take responsibility for enforcing Internet policies goes unanswered. Many stakeholders, however, believe that domain name registrars and ICANN could play a greater role in protecting consumers. Registrars can make an impact by fulfilling their responsibility to shut down domains that are being used for illegal activities, and ICANN can hold registrars accountable for meeting this obligation.

The risk to public health posed by these illegally operating sites was the impetus for NABP launching the global .Pharmacy Top-Level Domain (TLD) Program. Only legitimate Internet pharmacies and pharmacy-related websites will qualify for .pharmacy domains, giving consumers worldwide a way to distinguish safe and legal online pharmacies and resources from rogue sites. NABP began accepting applications for .pharmacy domain names in late 2014. General availability, when any entity with a pharmacy or pharmacy-related website may apply and, if approved, register for a .pharmacy domain name, began on June 3, 2015. More information about the .pharmacy TLD, including a list of approved entities with registered .pharmacy domain names, is available at www.safe.pharmacy.

For the full report with detailed findings on the characteristics of rogue websites and the list of Not Recommended sites, visit www.AWARErx.org/get-informed/safe-acquisition/not-recommended-sites.

This NABP news release was sourced from:
www.nabp.net/news/nabp-stresses-need-for-accountability-in-enforcing-internet-policies-to-protect-the-public-from-illegal-online-drug-sellers

NABP Launches .Pharmacy To Help Consumers Find Safe Pharmacies Online

[news release] The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy® (NABP®) has launched the .pharmacy gTLD to provide consumers around the world a means for identifying safe, legal, and ethical online pharmacies and related resources. Of the tens of thousands of rogue sites selling prescription drugs online, NABP has reviewed over 10,800 and found that nearly 97% do not follow pharmacy laws and standards established to protect the public health.

With this in mind, NABP will grant use of the .pharmacy domain only to legitimate website operators that adhere to pharmacy laws in the jurisdictions in which they are based and in which their patients and customers reside, so that consumers can easily find safe online pharmacies.

The first registration phase for .pharmacy domain names will begin in November 2014. This date marks the start of the Sunrise Period – a preliminary, limited registration period for those trademark holders who have entered their trademarks into the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers Trademark Clearinghouse. During this period, trademark holders may apply to NABP for approval to register their trademark name as a .pharmacy domain.

Following the Sunrise Period, registration for .pharmacy domain names will be open to pharmacy websites that are accredited through the NABP Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites® (VIPPS®) and Veterinary-Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites (Vet-VIPPS®) programs, as well as for pharmacy websites that have received approval through the NABP e-Advertiser Approval Program. These pharmacies and their websites have already undergone a thorough review process and established their compliance with NABP standards for legitimate online practice and are considered eligible to register a .pharmacy domain name.

Applications from other pharmacies seeking to register a .pharmacy domain name will be accepted beginning in early 2015. This phase will be followed by the general registration (or general availability) period, which will be open to any entity offering pharmacy-related products, services, or information that meets .pharmacy eligibility standards. Entities seeking a .pharmacy domain must first submit an application to NABP. Once approved, applicants will be able to register the domain through an approved registrar.

“Because rogue drug sellers continue to proliferate on the Internet, distributing dangerous counterfeit and substandard medications to consumers, the launch of the .pharmacy program is a significant step in protecting the public health, both in the US and other countries,” states NABP President Joseph L. Adams, RPh. “NABP is pleased to begin offering .pharmacy registration so that consumers can easily determine if the site they are using is an appropriately licensed, legitimate pharmacy operating in compliance with program and applicable regulatory standards.”

With the support of an international advisory committee, and the International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP), NABP has developed policies and procedures to ensure that only websites dispensing legitimate medications and operating in a manner that is safe and lawful may use a .pharmacy domain name. The .pharmacy eligibility requirements were developed to address concerns shared by domestic and international stakeholders about illegal online drug sellers distributing products that endanger patient health worldwide.

Among the global coalition of stakeholders behind the .pharmacy initiative are the Alliance for Safe Online Pharmacies, Eli Lilly and Company, European Alliance for Access to Safe Medicines, FIP, Food and Drug Administration, Gilead Sciences, Inc, INTERPOL, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc, LegitScript, Merck & Co, Inc, National Association of Pharmacy Regulatory Authorities, Pfizer, and state boards of pharmacy.

More information about the .Pharmacy gTLD Program, as well as NABP’s most recent research on rogue online drug sellers is available at www.dotpharmacy.net.

NABP is the independent, international, and impartial Association that assists its state member boards and jurisdictions for the purpose of protecting the public health.

ICANN Clarifies Its Role Regarding Online Pharmacies

Following some recent activities, ICANN has sought to outline their responsibilities when it comes to its role and responsibilities to online pharmacies.The clarification comes in the form of a posting on the ICANN blog and in the post Maguy Serad, Vice President, Contractual Compliance Services, writes “ICANN has little or no control over the content of websites. In fact, our responsibilities and mission are very limited.”Changes though occurred when the Registrar Accreditation Agreement (RAA) was updated in 2013. “Some registrars are signatories to that RAA, others are signatories to its predecessor, the RAA of 2009. The rights and responsibilities of the registrars differ under the two agreements.””When the 2013 RAA was being considered, the international law enforcement community wanted a dozen safeguards written into the agreement. All twelve were addressed, including requirements for registrars to verify and validate contact information of registrants and to maintain a point of contact who is responsible for reviewing reports of illegal activity submitted by law enforcement and regulatory agencies. These measures will assist the public and benefit law enforcement as it looks into reported abuses by online pharmacies.””ICANN’s ability to investigate complaints about a particular registrar, which might have registered an online pharmacy site, extends only as far as our rights under the contract with that particular registrar. While most in the ICANN community understand that, too many times the general public often does not.”Our contractual compliance team occasionally receives complaints about registrars relating to unlicensed online pharmacies, with the expectation that we have the ability to not only investigate, but also immediately take down any given site. This is not the case.We are very concerned about unlawful activity of any type on the Internet. However, those concerns do not necessarily mean that we are empowered to address those activities. Our only enforcement power lies within the realm of contractual compliance and extends only to enforcement of the specific language in our agreements.”Many complainants simply do not understand that ICANN is not a governmental or law enforcement agency and has no law enforcement authority. That said, we support law enforcement efforts to fight illegal drug sales and will continue to work within the scope of our authority to assist law enforcement and regulatory agencies, where we are empowered to do so.”Serad goes on to note that “the simple reality is that ICANN is not a court and is not empowered to resolve disputes when parties disagree over what constitutes illegal activity in multiple countries around the world. We rely on governmental regulatory authorities and courts to police illegal activity. Where law enforcement or a regulatory agency obtains an appropriate court order, ICANN will comply with the court order and require its contracted parties to do the same.””Whenever and however possible we support law enforcement efforts. We occasionally work informally, when appropriate, to encourage our contracted registrars to cooperate with law enforcement and regulatory efforts to combat illegal online pharmacies.”For the pull posting on the ICANN blog, go to:
https://www.icann.org/news/blog/clarifying-icann-s-role-online-pharmacies

18,000 Websites Seized In Global Illicit Online Pharmacy Crackdown

A global operation coordinated by Interpol spanning 100 countries saw 18,000 websites and linked to illicit online pharmacies being identified and shut down, the suspension of payment facilities of online rogue pharmacies, and the disruption of a massive number of spam emails and social networking messages.Operation Pangea V, which involved police, customs and national regulatory authorities is the largest Internet-based action of its kind, targeting the international black market of fake and illicit medicines, and raising public awareness of the significant health risks associated with buying medicines online.In the US alone, the operation saw 686 websites and the corresponding domain names seized.Coordinated by INTERPOL, the World Customs Organization, the Permanent Forum of International Pharmaceutical Crime, the Heads of Medicines Agencies Working Group of Enforcement Officers, Pharmaceutical Security Institute and Europol, for the first time, Operation Pangea was also supported by the Center for Safe Internet Pharmacies (CSIP) which brings together 12 of the world’s leading Internet and e-commerce companies.Support by companies including Legitscript, Visa, Mastercard and PayPal resulted in more than 18,000 websites linked to illicit online pharmacies being identified and shut down, the suspension of payment facilities of online rogue pharmacies, and the disruption of a massive number of spam emails and social networking messages.”When someone is sick, can’t afford to purchase expensive medicine or is just trying to save money, they are more likely to take a chance and buy medicines online, making themselves vulnerable to purchasing fake, illicit or spurious medical products and thus harming themselves,” said INTERPOL Secretary General Ronald K. Noble.”Organised, sophisticated criminals and rogue pharmacies are unfortunately using the Internet to defraud innocent consumers, to place them in harm’s way, to steal their identities and to engage in credit card fraud.”It is thanks to the coordinated efforts of all agencies involved, police, customs, health regulatory authorities and the private sector, that we have seen the most significant results since Pangea I was first launched five years ago. This is a major boost in protecting the health and safety of the public, and tackling the organised networks behind this crime,” said the INTERPOL Chief.A dedicated operations room was established at the INTERPOL General Secretariat headquarters in Lyon, throughout Pangea V which ran from September 25 to October 2, providing participating countries and organisations with a central information exchange point for updates on interventions and seisures. In addition to raids at addresses linked to the illegal internet supply of medicines, some 133,000 packages were inspected by regulators and customs authorities around the world with around 6,700 being confiscated.”As the Internet becomes increasingly accessible around the world, so the number of potential victims increases, which is why international multi-sector actions such as Operation Pangea are vital,” said Aline Plançon, head of INTERPOL’s Medical Products Counterfeiting and Pharmaceutical Crime unit.”Taking direct action against those behind illegal Internet pharmacies is just part of the solution, and it is equally important for the public to open their eyes to the significant risks they take when purchasing medicines on illicit online pharmacies,” added Ms Plançon.Among the counterfeit and illicit medicines were anti-cancer medication, antibiotics, erectile dysfunction pills as well as slimming and food supplements.To date, 79 individuals have been arrested or are under investigation for a range of offences including operating a clandestine laboratory producing counterfeit medicines, membership of a criminal group selling illicit medicine online and operating websites selling illicit medicines. Information relating to organised crime networks gathered during the operation will be reviewed and analysed to identify additional links around the world.Investigations are continuing, with the final results from Operation Pangea V to be released upon their conclusion. For additional information on national activities, please contact the enforcement agencies and regulatory bodies of the countries involved.

White House Requests Registrars Assist in Crackdown On Online Pharmacies

The Obama administration has issued a request for domain name registrars to attend a meeting at the White House in late September to look at voluntary ways to crack down on online pharmacies that sell counterfeit prescription medications.

The request was sent by White House Senior Adviser for Intellectual Property Enforcement Andrew J. Klein reports Krebs on Security, and “urges select recipients to attend a meeting on Sept. 29 with senior White House and cabinet officials, including Victoria Espinel, the Obama administration’s intellectual property enforcement coordinator.”

“According to the World Health Organization, approximately 8 percent of the bulk drugs imported into the United States are counterfeit, unapproved, or substandard, and 10 percent of global pharmaceutical commerce — or $21 billion — involves counterfeit drugs,” says the Krebs on Security report with more than 45,000 rogue online pharmacies.

To read the Krebs on Security report in full, see:
krebsonsecurity.com/2010/08/white-house-calls-meeting-on-rogue-online-pharmacies/