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Jump to Comparison Table: Online Pharmacy Verification Services

It is important that you understand the differences among the groups that rate and verify online pharmacies. It’s not only essential to know what credentials each verifies, but the mission and focus of each group. To help, we put together the comparison table below, focusing on topics that should be of interest to the 120,000,000 Americans who struggle to afford their prescription drug bill and are searching online for savings (see Drug Prices SOS for more on this national emergency).

Perhaps the biggest difference that you’ll notice among the groups is that is the only one to include pharmacies from the U.S. as well as from Canada and select other countries. The Canadian International Pharmacy Association (CIPA) only accepts Canadian-based pharmacies. The Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites (VIPPS) program, run by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP), and LegitScript, a private verification service, exclude affordable Canadian pharmacies and others outside the US and exclusively approve U.S. pharmacies.

It is understandable that CIPA does not include U.S. pharmacies, as it is a trade association for Canadian international pharmacies. While its members provide safe and affordable medication to Americans, CIPA is not an independent third party like Recognizing this, almost all of its members are also members of the Verification Program.

But why do NABP and LegitScript exclude non-U.S. pharmacies? Both claim it is because Americans are not legally permitted to purchase lower cost medication from Canada and elsewhere and it’s not safe. But it’s well known that Americans who personally import medication generally do so without government interference and the evidence shows that buying prescription drugs from sites approved by is safe. The bottom line is that the constituents of NABP and don’t want you buying lower cost medication because it’s bad for their businesses. NABP is run by U.S. pharmacists and funded by U.S. pharmacies and pharmaceutical companies. Similarly, appears to serve the interests of pharmaceutical company clients.

Even if you are shopping for a good pharmacy within the U.S., the NABP VIPPS program currently has less than 20 approved members and only seven will sell you medication without having to be a member of their pharmacy plan. These few companies are almost exclusively large chains that offer no price advantage over your local pharmacy and no price advantage over foreign pharmacies on brand name drugs. Nearly ten times as many U.S. pharmacies are approved by While has 344 approved members, most of these are neighborhood pharmacies with websites; they are not mail-order pharmacies that can fill new prescriptions and help you save money on brand name drugs.

After reviewing the facts, we think that you’ll find that is not only the most independent and objective group, but its verification process is also the most intensive, involving quarterly re-checks of pharmacy licenses while others perform this every one to three years, or don’t specify the frequency. It is no wonder that among all the groups, the public turns to’s website for information more than twice as often as all of the other programs combined.

Comparison Chart of Online Pharmacy Verification Services

Complied by, March 1st, 2010 NABP/VIPPS CIPA
Independent Third Party

Privately held with no ownership in or from companies that sell or distribute pharmacy products.

Founded to help consumers identify safe and affordable pharmacies.

Represents U.S. state pharmacy boards. Directors include representatives of U.S. pharmacies. Accepts grants
from pharmaceutical companies.


Privately held but appears to work for companies in the U.S. pharmaceutical business

Trade association of Canadian international pharmacies

Verifications Funded Exclusively by Application/ Member Fees

VIPPS fees paid by applicants and members but pharmaceutical funding supports NABP programs identifying non-US pharmacies as “Not Recommended.”

No fee charged. Revenue appears to come from “research” for clients in the pharmacy and pharmaceutical fields. Its president also owns “Evergreen “Government Relations” registered at same address.

Members pay association dues.

Helps Consumers Find Affordable Medication

Compares drug prices among US, Canadian and other online pharmacies

Offers international pharmacy services with highly discounted prescription drugs NABP/VIPPS CIPA
Canadian and Other Foreign Pharmacies Accepted

Permits pharmacies in the U.S., Canada and other countries that operate licensed and safe mail-order pharmacy operations: Australia, Barbados, Curacao, Israel, India, Italy, New Zealand, Singapore, Switzerland Turkey, UK.

Non-U.S. pharmacies automatically added to
“Not Recommended”

Non-U.S. pharmacies automatically “Unapproved”

Canadian pharmacies with partner pharmacies in US, Canada, Australia, Barbados, Curacao, Israel, India, New Zealand, Singapore, Turkey, UK.

Pharmacy License Checked

Every 3 months

Every 12 to 36 months



Prohibits Sale of Narcotics into U.S. from Abroad
Checks DEA License of U.S. Pharmacies

Every 3 months

Every 12 to 36 months


Not applicable
Valid Prescription Required
Privacy Policy Required
Encryption of Personal Information Required
Years Program in Operation (as of Feb. 2010) 7 11 2 8
Number of Approved
U.S. Online Pharmacy Members1
126 7 344 0
Number of Approved
Non-U.S. Online Members
72 0 0 192
Monthly Website Traffic3
(unique visitors)
104,510 29,283 857 6,838
1Excludes pharmacies that require consumer to be a member of a pharmacy plan.

2These pharmacies may operate through more than one website address. Consequently, total CIPA approved online pharmacies exceeds the number listed. web traffic statistics for January 2010.

Please see Online Pharmacy Verification Services Comparison Chart for a PDF version of the above table.

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