New Online Pharmacy Verification Tool Launched as Alternative to NABP Pharmaceutical Industry-Funded Program

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PharmacyChecker Verification Portal Helps Consumers Find Affordable and Safe International Online Pharmacies

New Online Pharmacy Verification Tool Launched as Alternative to NABP Pharmaceutical Industry-Funded Program
‘Dot Pharmacy’ in principle is a great idea, but it’s being misused to protect pharmaceutical industry’s profits. Our new search portal gives people an alternative to dot pharmacy if they decide to buy medication internationally if it’s not affordable here.

To help Americans find the safest international online pharmacies with affordable prices on prescription drugs, PharmacyChecker is announcing the launch of a new online pharmacy verification search tool to protect public health and improve access to affordable medicine.

By typing in the web address of an online pharmacy in the search portal, a visitor of PharmacyChecker.com can now immediately tell if a pharmacy is accredited through the PharmacyChecker Verification Program. The tool is a critical alternative to the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) Dot Pharmacy (.Pharmacy) Program, which was funded by pharmaceutical companies and excludes safe international online pharmacies, including licensed Canadian pharmacies, that sell to Americans. Public and consumer health experts, including Elisabeth Rosenthal, MD, Editor in Chief of Kaiser Health News and Roger Bate, PhD, economist and drug quality expert at the American Enterprise Institute, recommend PharmacyChecker as a trustworthy source for finding safe international pharmacy options.

Pharmaceutical companies Eli Lilly, Merck, Pfizer and others funded the NABP’s application to the International Corporation of Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) to administer the registry .Pharmacy (dot pharmacy). The only online pharmacies eligible to have an NABP .Pharmacy registration and sell medicine in the U.S. are domestic pharmacies (such as Walgreens.pharmacy and CVS.pharmacy). According to investigative reporting by non-profit media outlet, Tarbell, the NABP and other groups funded by drug companies engage in public information campaigns scaring Americans against buying lower-cost medicine online from another country.

The NABP publicizes that the .Pharmacy initiative easily allows American consumers to know which pharmacy sites are compliant with U.S. and state laws. Consumers can type in the name of the pharmacy’s website with ".pharmacy" at the end: if the result leads to the pharmacy website, then it’s legitimate. With drug prices out of reach at these U.S. online pharmacies, Americans will search for lower-cost international websites but not find any with .Pharmacy registrations. Those consumers can benefit most from the new PharmacyChecker Verification Portal.

It is critical for consumers to avoid rogue websites, which may not require a valid prescription, intentionally sell counterfeit drugs, or engage in identity theft. Peer-reviewed research and a decade of testing medicines ordered from online pharmacies by economist and public health scholar Roger Bate and others demonstrate the safety of properly-credentialed online pharmacies, including PharmacyChecker-accredited international online pharmacies.

For an online pharmacy to be accredited, PharmacyChecker first verifies that it:

1)    Is a licensed pharmacy or pharmacy website that processes orders dispensed only from licensed pharmacies;
2)    Requires a valid prescription;
3)    Does not sell controlled (addictive) prescriptions drugs to the U.S.;
4)    Publishes a valid mailing address and phone number;
5)    Protects the security of financial and personal information transmitted online;
6)    Publishes a privacy policy ensuring the site does not share personal information with third parties, except as it applies to processing a prescription order;
7)    Does not make false marketing claims, particularly as it relates to regulations and drug quality;
8)    Provides transparency regarding the source pharmacy of the drug (i.e. Canada, Australia, India, New Zealand, Singapore, Turkey, the UK)
9)    Makes available licensed pharmacists with whom patients may consult
10)    Sells only quantities of medication for personal use (up to a 90-day supply) and not for re-sale.

“Over the past 16 years, millions of consumers have consulted PharmacyChecker.com to find accredited online pharmacies and compare drug prices. Now we’re making it even easier,” said Gabriel Levitt. “‘Dot Pharmacy’ in principle is a great idea, but it’s being misused to protect pharmaceutical industry’s profits. Our new search portal gives people an alternative to 'dot pharmacy' if they decide to buy medication internationally if it’s not affordable here. Too many Americans are already going without treatments they need when safe options are available internationally.”

Cost barriers to accessing medicine are recognized as a serious public health issue. Twenty-nine percent of adult Americans (74 million people) report being unable to properly fill a prescription because of cost; and eight percent (20 million people) report becoming sicker (Kaiser Family Foundation 2019). For affordable options, about 20 million Americans have purchased medications from other countries, often using online pharmacies.

PharmacyChecker.com was founded in 2003 by Tod Cooperman, MD, a consumer advocate who is also the founder of ConsumerLab.com, which reports on the quality of health and nutrition products. Shivam Patel, RPh, a pharmacist licensed in Massachusetts, runs the PharmacyChecker Verification Program. Gabriel Levitt, an advocate for lower drug prices, is PharmacyChecker’s President as well as a founder of Prescription Justice, a non-profit organization. PharmacyChecker price comparisons include discount U.S. pharmacy prices and accredited international online pharmacy prices.

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Lucia Mueller
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