Americans' Access to Safe and Affordable International Online Pharmacies Threatened
White Plains, New York – Thursday, May 30, 2013 – Consumer watchdog and activist groups, Public Citizen, Demand Progress, and RxRights.org have joined a chorus of others opposing a bid by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) to control the registry of a proposed new Internet domain ending in ".Pharmacy" (dot pharmacy). NABP's goal is to create a marketplace where only those websites ending in .Pharmacy are considered legitimate, but NABP's standards would ban any online pharmacy outside the U.S. that sells to Americans from being registered, including those legally operating in Canada with licenses verified by PharmacyChecker.com. Millions of Americans rely on affordable medication purchased from such pharmacies.
Opponents of NABP's bid believe its actions will advantage pharmaceutical companies and U.S. pharmacies by protecting their profits and sales to the disadvantage of American consumers whose access to medicines will be curtailed.
The NABP application for .Pharmacy has passed the Internet Corporation of Assigned Names and Numbers' (ICANN) initial evaluation criteria but its final approval remains uncertain.
NABP proposes to act as an impartial organization in making the rules for Internet pharmacies on a worldwide basis, but its application is funded by Merck, Eli Lilly and other drug companies. Its executive committee includes executives and employees of chain pharmacies in the U.S., such as CVS, Walgreens, and Walmart. Those industries have strenuously lobbied against personal drug importation for over the last decade and pressured the White House to dissuade consumers from buying medication outside the United States.
Here's what activists have written about NABP's application:
Public Citizen's Peter Maybarduk, JD, Program Director of Global Access to Medicines:
"NABP has proposed an unfair standard that would bar online pharmacies that serve US consumers but are located outside of the United States from using the domain (see NABP's application at Section 18(a) IV*). This would exclude many licensed pharmacies which offer American consumers low-cost medicines of quality."
Demand Progress's David Moon, JD, Program Director:
"From our direct experience with NABP and its allies in Internet policy disputes, there is ample cause to believe the applicant seeks to control .pharmacy to the detriment of free speech & access to safe and affordable medication for consumers. Members of the pharmaceutical industry who support NABP's application have consistently conflated online retailers selling counterfeit drug sales with those selling legitimate products. Their true goal is to control markets and gain the ability to disconnect competitors from the Net."
RxRights.org's Lee Graczyk, Executive Director:
"Empirical study shows that the biggest barrier to medication adherence is cost. Forty-eight million Americans did not fill a prescription due to cost in 2010, according to the Commonwealth Fund. Therefore, consumers will most benefit from a trusted, open, and competitive .PHARMACY space. It should not be used to protect the market share of U.S. pharmaceutical entities nor settle cross-border legal ambiguities to consumers' detriment."
PharmacyChecker.com helps Americans find the best drug prices from verified online pharmacies. PharmacyChecker.com's pharmacy ratings and drug price comparisons are free to consumers. PharmacyChecker.com, based in New York, is privately held with no ownership in or from companies that sell or distribute pharmacy products.