|PHARMACEUTICAL-SPONSORED INTERNET INITIATIVE MAY MISLEAD CONSUMERS SEEKING SAVINGS
|WESTCHESTER COUNTY, NY — MAY 29th, 2008 —At least five legitimate, low-cost, drug-selling websites have been labeled 'Not Recommended' in a list published by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) in a new initiative launched on May 16 sponsored by Pfizer Inc.
PharmacyChecker.com is advising consumers that these five pharmacies, although not based in the United States, operate ethically and each have met the requirements of its Verification Program. 'There are many unsafe websites that consumers should avoid, particularly those not requiring a prescription, but these are not among them,' said Tod Cooperman, MD, president of PharmacyChecker.com. The five sites are CanadaDrugs.com, DoctorSolve.com, DrugsFromCanada.com, PlanetDrugsDirect.com, and SmartChoicePharmacy.com.
At a time when prescription prices are growing at nearly twice that of the Consumer Price Index, the NABP and the FDA appear to be scaring consumers away from legitimate low-cost pharmacies. The FDA website refers consumers to the NABP's Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites program, known as VIPPS. Founded in 1999 this program only has 15 members, consisting largely of major U.S. pharmacy chains and benefits managers. The program does not include many legitimate and often lower-cost U.S. pharmacies, such as Costco.com. Canadian and other foreign pharmacies are barred from the program and, instead, are included in a NABP's new 'Not Recommended' list developed through a grant from Pfizer. Pfizer has actively targeted Canadian pharmacies that export its drugs to Americans by attempting to restrict their access to Pfizer products. The 'Not Recommended' list does not distinguish between sites that violate pharmacy practice standards and those that are simply located outside of the United States.
"We fully support the identification of dangerous drug-selling sites, but not as a camouflage for attacking legitimate low-cost pharmacies,' said Dr. Cooperman. In December, PharmacyChecker.com posted a list of 36 rogue pharmacy websites that may put consumers' health and money at risk. These pharmacies show no evidence of being licensed and may display unauthorized or altered verification seals from PharmacyChecker.com and other third-parties.
PharmacyChecker.com operates the largest independent verification service of online pharmacies. Google adWords, Yahoo Search Marketing, and Microsoft adCenter use its verifications and additional criteria to qualify online pharmacy advertisers. Two hundred and sixty-four online pharmacies and affiliated sites are currently authorized to display the PharmacyChecker.com seal through the PharmacyChecker Verification Program. Qualifications are checked, continually re-checked, and PharmacyChecker conducts mystery shopping to test compliance. PharmacyChecker.com advises consumers to look for the PharmacyChecker.com seal, which should link directly to its site to display a member's status and profile.
A review of NABP's 'Not Recommended' list on May 28 found that none are members of the PharmacyChecker.com program other than the five sites listed above. Of the fifteen members of NABP's VIPPS program, five are also members of the PharmacyChecker.com program. Examples of online pharmacies that have been verified by PharmacyChecker.com can be found at http://www.pharmacychecker.com/OnlinePharmacyRatings.asp.
PharmacyChecker.com is a privately held company based in New York. It has no ownership in or from companies that sell or distribute pharmacy products. The company also operates www.MedicareDrugPlans.com where seniors can compare, rate, and review Medicare Part D prescription drug plans.
Contact: Gabriel Levitt at firstname.lastname@example.org or 718-387-4526.