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Global Patient Safety Highlighted by NABP, Domestic and International Stakeholders at .Pharmacy Supporter Advisory Committee Meeting

Companies mentioned in this article: National Association of Boards of Pharmacy

MOUNT PROSPECT, Ill., Aug. 5, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy(®) (NABP(®)) welcomed domestic and international stakeholders last week for a meeting of the .Pharmacy Supporter Advisory Committee. The committee's guidance is an important part of operationalizing the new .pharmacy generic Top-Level Domain (gTLD). Members of the committee, which is composed of representatives of domestic and international regulatory agencies and patient safety advocacy groups, as well as technical and industry experts, stressed the importance of implementing standards and policies to support the .pharmacy program's goal to provide patients and consumers around the world a means for identifying safe, legal, and ethical online pharmacies and related resources.

The advisory committee discussed implementation of the .pharmacy standards, including issues related to the international operationalization of the gTLD. International stakeholders, in particular European Alliance for Access to Safe Medicines, International Pharmaceutical Federation, National Association of Pharmacy Regulatory Authorities, and Ordre National des Pharmaciens, shared their expertise on regulatory and pharmacy practice matters. NABP will continue to collaborate with advisory committee members, particularly its international members, to ensure that global implementation of the .pharmacy gTLD meets the unique laws and concerns of each jurisdiction in which the domain is used. The advisory committee meeting followed NABP's execution of a Registry Agreement with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers on June 19, 2014, to become the registry operator for the new .pharmacy gTLD.

NABP plans to launch the .pharmacy gTLD by fall 2014, and, working closely with the .Pharmacy Supporter Advisory Committee, will implement policies to ensure that only legitimate website operators that adhere to pharmacy laws in the jurisdictions in which they are based and to which they sell medicine will be able to register domain names in .pharmacy. For example, a pharmacy that is licensed in another country and is selling prescription drugs to patients in the United States would not be eligible for .pharmacy because it is violating US federal law that prohibits importation. Similarly, Internet pharmacies dispensing prescription medications to patients in France would not be eligible for the .pharmacy domain because French law prohibits the online sale of prescription drugs. 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.

NABP continues to monitor websites selling prescription drugs to patients in the US and, as of July 2014, has reviewed over 10,780 Internet drug outlets and found 97% of them to be out of compliance with pharmacy laws and practice standards established in the US to protect the public health. Of the 10,434 websites identified as Not Recommended, nearly half offer foreign or non-Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved drugs, many of which may be dangerous counterfeits, to unsuspecting US patients. Further, health and regulatory agencies in the US and abroad have reported cases of patients harmed by counterfeit, substandard, and adulterated medications distributed by illegal Internet sellers.

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, FDA, Gilead Sciences, Inc, International Pharmaceutical Federation, INTERPOL, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc, LegitScript, Merck & Co, Inc, National Association of Pharmacy Regulatory Authorities, Pfizer, and state boards of pharmacy.

More information about NABP and the .Pharmacy gTLD Program, including program updates and a request-for-information form for entities seeking a .pharmacy gTLD, 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.

SOURCE National Association of Boards of Pharmacy