PharmacyChecker Blog

Helping Americans Get The Truth About Prescription Drug Savings
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In its July 2011 Progress Report, the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) continues to do a disservice to Americans by classifying safe pharmacies in other countries as “rogue.” Out of the 8,000 sites “Not Recommended” by NABP, research shows 53 are safe international online pharmacies.

It is laudable and helpful to Americans when the NABP exposes truly rogue pharmacies, i.e., those that sell Americans fake drugs or even real drugs but without a prescription. However, the NABP has chosen, year after year, to lump in with these rogues, any pharmacy that is not based in the United States.

How can the NABP do this? Unfortunately, U.S. law says it is, under most circumstances, illegal for Americans to get their medicine from Canada or other countries. So NABP freely uses terms like “rogue,” “illicit,” and “illegal” when describing any foreign pharmacy. We see no reason to mislead the public into thinking that safe foreign pharmacies pose a danger and belong in the same group as rogue pharmacies.

Why does NABP do this? It is hard for us to know NABP’s motives, but, for one, it protects the business of NABP’s constituents, which include U.S. pharmacies, as well as pharmaceutical companies whose profit margins are lower when an American buys their drugs outside the country. In fact, Pfizer sponsored the NABP efforts that lead to the “Not Recommended” List.

If NABP wanted to be more helpful, it could create a separate list of online pharmacies not based in the U.S. but which operate safely, sell genuine prescription medication to Americans, and require a valid prescription.

Research shows that properly verified foreign online pharmacies – including those “Not Recommended” by NABP – are very safe: They are licensed, follow good pharmacy practices, require a prescription, sell genuine medication, and don’t sell controlled substances to Americans. Just as important, they sell affordable medicine to millions of Americans because Canadian and other foreign pharmacies sell brand name drugs at a 70 – 80 % discount compared to U.S pharmacies.

These pharmacies help people get the medicine they might otherwise forgo – a large and growing public health problem as documented by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Yet, NABP ignores this issue in its public education campaigns about online pharmacies. Even worse, its actions may eventually block online access by Americans to such pharmacies, as the White House potentially seeks a crackdown on any online pharmacy not on the NABP’s “White List” of online pharmacies.

While the NABP and its state pharmacy board members serve an important function in overseeing U.S. pharmacies, it does more harm than good when it  misleads Americans by referring to safe and affordable online pharmacies as “rogue”.

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