US Pharmacopeia joins safe online pharmacy group

Online pharmacy The US Pharmacopeial Convention (USP) has joined a group campaigning to raise awareness of illegal online medicines sales.

USP has lent its support to the Alliance for Safe Online Pharmacies (ASOP), an advocacy organisation set up to protect consumers from the scourge of rogue online pharmacies though measures such as public education, data collection and dissemination, best practices development and encouraging policy and legislative change.

At any time, there are believed to be 40,000-50,000 active online drug sellers worldwide, and it is estimated that the largest illegal operators can bring in $1m to $2.5m in sales each month. All told, it is estimated that 97 per cent of US websites do not comply with laws governing the sales of medicines online, such as requiring a prescription.

"The illegal online sale of medicines, which can include large volume of counterfeit and substandard products, is a threat that reaches directly into the homes of consumers," said USP chief executive Ronald Piervincenzi.

ASOP - which formed a European offshoot in February - believes that around half of all prescription medicines sold online by website that hide their physical address are counterfeit, according to its executive director Libby Baney.

ASOP EU and the European Alliance for Access to Safe Medicines (EAASM) published a report last year estimating online sales of counterfeit medicines are around €1.4bn and set to rise dramatically in the coming years.

USP's involvement in the alliance "is hugely valuable and sets an example for others to follow," said Baney. ASOP's other members include drugmakers such as Amgen, Boehringer Ingelheim, Eli Lilly, Merck & Co and Takeda, as well as pharma industry and pharmacy associations and regulatory authorities.

A big step towards helping consumers stay safe online when buying medicines is due in the autumn when a new .pharmacy generic top-level domain (gTLD) will become available.

Only organisations that have been vetted by the US National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) and meet a set of standards - including pharmacy licensure and valid prescription requirements in the jurisdictions where they are based and where they serve patients - will have access to the domain.

Just 0.1 per cent of Japanese online pharmacies meet regulations

Meanwhile, a study by LegitScript - a US company set up to monitor and combat online pharmacy crime - has found that only 0.1 per cent of websites selling prescription drugs to Japanese residents  were complying with regulations set out by the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare (MHLW).

Just one website out of 2,345 studied was in compliance with MHLW rules, according to the study based on data collected in 2013. It also found that 44 per cent of the rogue Internet pharmacy network was concentrated in just three networks - BestKusuri (BestKenko; based in Singapore), Roy Union (China) and (Israel).

Related articles:

     Want our news sent directly to your inbox?

Yes please 2


Home  |  About us  |  Contact us  |  Advertise  |  Links  |  Partners  |  Privacy Policy  |   |  RSS feed   |  back to top