PharmacyChecker Verification Program Protects Public Health
Americans and consumers worldwide come to PharmacyChecker.com to find pharmacies that will sell them properly dispensed, genuine medication, at a price they can afford.
We take our role very seriously and continually improve and enhance our program to keep up with changes in the marketplace.
For those who are interested, I’m happy to announce today that we have published our latest program documentation that effectively communicates our most current standards, policies and online pharmacy practice guidance on how to meet those standards. In reviewing our protocols, consumers, healthcare providers and advocates, and policy professionals can more fully understand why websites “approved” in the PharmacyChecker Verification Program are the safest international online pharmacies: as safe as U.S. pharmacies, according to peer-reviewed research and medication testing.
You can review our full set of PharmayChecker.com standards for verifying online pharmacies here. Below are some of the key attributes of our program and standards. (more…)
Tagged with: pharmacy safety, standards, verification
Properly Verified International Online Pharmacies Sell Genuine and Safe Medication
Last month, Roger Bate, a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and head of the Safe Medicines Coalition, published the results of a study which tested and compared the quality of drugs purchased from online pharmacies in the U.S. and abroad, including pharmacies verified by third-parties and those not verified. The findings were clear: PharmacyChecker-approved international online pharmacies sell medications of comparable quality to U.S. online pharmacies verified by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) and LegitScript.
In fact, overall, the results were better for PharmacyChecker-verified pharmacies than for those verified by NABP and LegitScript. Results were dramatically worse for pharmacies with no third-party verification. The drug testing focused on generic versions of Lipitor (atorvastatin) and of generic Cipro (ciprofloxacin), which were ordered from the online pharmacies by the researchers. (more…)
Tagged with: Atorvastatin, CIPA, Cipro, Ciprofloxacin, LegitScript, Lipitor, NABP, Roger Bate, testing
Question. Do online pharmacies in the PharmacyChecker Verification Program require a prescription?
PharmacyChecker Answers: Absolutely. Under our program’s rule, all PharmacyChecker.com-approved online pharmacies must require a prescription for you to obtain medication that requires a prescription. This is just one of the many important standards which define our program.
Why is this so important? First, online pharmacies which don’t require a prescription are more likely to sell you a counterfeit or poor quality medication. Second, you should be under medical supervision when taking prescribed medication.
So, if you order from a PharmacyChecker-approved online pharmacy you’ll learn firsthand that you’d better have a script in hand!
Tagged with: prescription requirement
Kelly Ann Barnes, JD, RPh, Vice President of Pharmacy Verification and Information, PharmacyChecker.com
Last week PharmacyChecker.com announced that we hired Kelly Ann Barnes, JD, RPh, as Vice President for Pharmacy Verification and Information. A licensed U.S. pharmacist for 23 years, before coming to PharmacyChecker.com Kelly was the Director of Pharmacy Quality Assurance for the Massachusetts Board of Pharmacy. She joined us to run the PharmacyChecker Verification Program to verify, monitor and enforce, and further develop online pharmacy standards; check pharmacy licenses; inspect pharmacies in various countries that fill orders internationally; and discipline online pharmacies that are not meeting our standards. Kelly will also be helping answer questions from consumers about pharmacy safety, medication use, and of course prescription drug savings, including more focus on saving money at local pharmacies.
I’m really psyched to be working with Kelly and for those in the medical and public health communities that follow PharmacyChecker.com to get to know her over the coming years. Patient safety is foremost on our minds at PharmacyCheceker.com and our commitment to consumers is fortified by hiring an American pharmacist with a proven track record of dedication to pharmacy quality and patient safety.
Just yesterday, I read in CBS News that drug prices are set to skyrocket by 50% over the next few years – and that patients are often directly hit with higher out of pocket costs. Our pharmaceutical drug bill according to IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics was $424 billion last year and is going up to $640 billion by 2020.
The CBS article begins as follows: “Americans are getting sick and tired of the rising cost of their prescription medications. Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear likely that consumers will get a break any time soon.” The U.S. is already paying about twice as much on medications compared with other rich and industrialized nations – and it looks like it’s just getting worse. The safest international online pharmacies give consumers the ability to access lower cost medication so they don’t have to skip taking medications, choose between food and medicine, or go broke. With Kelly on board, we’re enhancing our critical efforts to give Americans the best information available about online pharmacy safety and savings and therefore the opportunity to afford medications they need to stay healthy, get better and survive.
Tagged with: Kelly Ann Barnes, patient safety, pharmacy safety
Stay safe while shopping for affordable medications online
Americans sometimes want to know if rogue online pharmacies, especially foreign ones, REALLY sell bad medication or if it’s just one big conspiracy by the evil pharmaceutical industry to scare Americans away from saving a lot of money. Well, as critical of big pharma’s efforts to scare consumers away from lower cost and safe medication as I have been, the answer is, REALLY, yes. The dangers of buying a fake or otherwise harmful medication online from a foreign or domestic source, or even a real medication when you are not under the supervision of your healthcare provider, are real and serious.
What we know better than most is that consumers, empowered with the right information, can pay a lot less for medication by shopping online, internationally, and also avoid rogue online pharmacies. The right online pharmacy can save a person’s life and their finances because it sells safe medication at much lower cost than a local pharmacy – but the wrong online pharmacy could kill you.
We’ve updated our website’s content about rogue online pharmacies to better inform consumers, healthcare providers, and regulators who want to avoid such sites and teach others how to do so as well. We do give a list of rogue online pharmacies but it is far from comprehensive. Other companies and organizations spend a lot of effort compiling lists and identifying rogue online pharmacy sites (with tens of thousands of websites, many defunct): PharmacyChecker.com is in the business of verifying and identifying the safest and most affordable online pharmacies, not listing the thousands of rogue ones.
As we explain in the updated section of our website, when looking to buy meds online, the best way to avoid a rogue online pharmacy is to stick with websites approved by PharmacyChecker.com and other noted certification and verification organizations, specifically the National Association of Boards of Pharmacies (NABP), LegitScript, and the Canadian International Pharmacy Association (CIPA). NABP’s VIPPS and LegitScript’s verification program validate safe and legal online pharmacies, but in a variety of ways wrongly conflate rogue sites with safe international online pharmacies, which can actually mislead consumers (see Rx Rights’ report on NABP and Techdirt’s description of LegitScript’s practices). That’s where the pharmaceutical industry conspiracy stuff comes in! CIPA’s online pharmacy standards are similar to, but not the same as, PharmacyChecker.com’s, and many of their members are also approved in our program – but we can’t vouch for those that are not. Regardless of the differences, all of us want to see consumers avoid dangerous drug-selling websites – often referred to as rogue online pharmacies – and some of us also want to maximize your online access to safe and affordable medication!
Photo Credit: © Peterhermesfurian | Dreamstime.com – Poison Pill Package Skull Photo
Tagged with: Big Pharma, CIPA, LegitScript, NABP, VIPPS
Today, online pharmacies that are based and selling medication internationally within the European Union (EU) are required to publish a new EU online pharmacy logo, as shown in the image to your left. We have updated our Verification Program requirements to reflect the EU’s new rules. The practice of international pharmacy is expressly legal within the EU, unlike between, say, the U.S. and Canada, although some EU member countries place national restrictions limiting the scope of cross-border sales. Only online pharmacies based in the member states of the EU are eligible for the new seal. Each seal will contain a special link that consumers can click to verify the seal’s authenticity.
Like the PharmacyChecker seal (right), the purpose of the EU logo is to help consumers shop safely for prescription drugs over the Internet and avoid dangerous pharmacy sites. To obtain a PharmacyChecker seal, an online pharmacy must meet many safety requirements, but its program seeks to maximize global access to safe and affordable medication to protect public health. The PharmacyChecker seal can also be authenticated by clicking it. If the seal profile is not hosted on www.pharmacychecker.com, then it’s a fake seal!
It’s very important to understand that regulating online pharmacies in the EU is very different from U.S. regulations that can prevent Americans from obtaining safe, affordable prescribed medication. Unlike tens of millions in America, citizens of the EU are generally not faced with having to choose between food and medicine due to the high cost of prescription drugs. Why? The costs for prescription drugs are much lower in the EU than in the U.S., and their healthcare systems better ensure that everyone has access to affordable medication. Therefore, unlike Americans, EU citizens are not usually looking online for medications to treat asthma, depression, diabetes, heart disease, osteoporosis, and stroke because they can afford them at local pharmacies. They are much more likely to be bargain hunting for less essential medications, such as those that treat erectile dysfunction and hair loss, because those medications are often not covered by health insurance policies in the EU – similar in that respect to health coverage in the U.S.
Identifying online pharmacies that sell safe and effective medications and meet critical safety criteria protects consumers, and so does helping them find the lowest drug prices. That’s why we launched PharmacyChecker.com in 2003. However, I have a mixed mindset about the new EU online pharmacy logo. I believe that people in the EU, like those in America or anywhere, should be able to access safe and affordable medication globally if they can’t obtain it locally. It’s difficult to tell if the EU’s new logo and rules will impede access to medicines; although, as discussed, drug affordability is a much, much smaller problem in the EU than in the U.S. We’ll be closely following how the new regulations are working and what impact they have on consumers and their online access to safe and affordable medicine.
Tagged with: European Union, logo, PharmacyChecker Verification Program, PharmacyChecker.com Verification Seal, seal