On May 16, 2008, the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) officially launched its "Internet Pharmacies" section on its website in an effort to educate patients of the potential pitfalls and dangers of purchasing drugs through the internet. The website has pointed out 79 internet pharmacies that apparently are not in compliance with state and federal laws or NABP patient safety and pharmacy practice standards. An additional 200 internet pharmacies have been identified as undertaking questionable activity but are still undergoing review.
Of the 79 pharmacies currently listed on NABP's website as "not recommended," 71 do not require a valid prescription, which is mandatory in all 50 states prior to dispensing a prescription drug in the United States; 35 offer foreign or non-U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved drugs—meaning they are in most cases illegal to sell in the United States; and 36 have a physical address outside of the United States (pharmacies must be based in the United States and licensed in each state where pharmacy practice is taking place).
NABP has also noted that several of the internet pharmacies do not offer pharmacist consultation and lack security of patient personal or financial information. Additionally, the World Health Organization estimates that medicines purchased from internet outlets with a concealed physical address are selling counterfeit drugs in the majority of cases.
NABP has developed standards for internet pharmacies with a broad-based group of stakeholders, including its state member boards of pharmacy, regulatory agencies, the FDA and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. Any internet drug outlets operating in conflict with these developed standards are listed as "not recommended." If your organization is contemplating operating internet-based pharmacy services or doing business with such an entity and would like additional information respecting compliance obligations, contacting legal counsel is advisable.