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
John Horton, the founder of LegitScript, a company which seems bent on preventing Americans from ordering affordable medication from outside the U.S., recently attempted to discredit PharmacyChecker.com with a false and misleading blog post. This is an old tactic of Mr. Horton. Why does he do this? At least two reasons come to mind: PharmacyChecker.com publishes information that helps Americans find safe and affordable medication from licensed foreign pharmacies and we have publicly exposed Horton’s seemingly unethical business practices.
LegitScript is allied with large pharmaceutical companies and U.S. chain pharmacies, entrenched business interests that lose money when Americans buy less expensive prescription medication outside the U.S.
Mr. Horton’s recent blog post discussed charges against Titilayo Akintomide Akinyoyenu, a pharmacist in Washington D.C. From 2005 to 2010, Mr. Akinyoyenu is alleged to have filled orders from his pharmacy for controlled medications pursuant to prescriptions written by a licensed doctor that were invalid because they were based on online questionnaires rather than a face-to-face examination. His pharmacy was licensed in the District of Columbia and is registered with the Drug Enforcement Agency to sell controlled medicines. He operated an online pharmacy, apexonlinepharmacy.com,which was associated with his licensed pharmacy. PharmacyChecker.com verified the licenses and DEA registration of Mr. Akinyoyenu’s pharmacy, and checked that the online pharmacy required a valid prescription and met other good online pharmacy practice standards, permitting his online pharmacy to be approved in the PharmacyChecker.com Verification Program until August 31, 2010.
Despite the fact that apexonlinepharmacy.com is not a PharmacyChecker-approved online pharmacy and has not been for about five years, Mr. Horton saw an angle in the allegations against Mr. Akinyoyenu to take a shot at PharmacyChecker and give his blog post the false and misleading title “Another PharmacyChecker Approved Internet Pharmacy Gets Indicted.” The indictment is not of the pharmacy, but of Mr. Akenyoyenu himself and it makes no mention of PharmacyChecker. (more…)
Tagged with: apexonlinepharmacy.com, controlled substances, john horton, LegitScript, PharmacyChecker Verification Program, walgreens
When it comes to prescription drugs and the public health, safety and affordability have to be considered together. People are at risk if they obtain medication that doesn’t work because it’s counterfeit, adulterated or substandard. At the same time, a perfectly safe and effective prescription drug will not help someone who cannot afford it. We help protect the public health by obtaining, verifying and providing information about online pharmacies and prescription drug prices that consumers can use to help maximize access to safe and affordable medication.
As we’ve said time and again, the key is to stay away from rogue online pharmacies by sticking with pharmacy sites publishing a valid PharmacyChecker.com seal, or accreditations from the Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites program or LegitScript. Many members, but not all, of the Canadian International Pharmacy Association are verified by PharmacyChecker.com as well.
For healthcare providers and consumers looking to understand who we are, what we do, and how to use our information, we publish “Protecting the Public Health: Verifying Pharmacy Websites to Help Consumers Find Affordable Medication and Avoid Rogue Online Pharmacies.”
For those interested in more specifics on our online pharmacy safety policies, requirements and standards please see our detailed guidance document about our verification program.
We welcome your questions or comments about our programs and policies: firstname.lastname@example.org.