When you go to your local CVS and Walgreens – and other big
pharmacy chains – are you getting the highest standard of care? Or do they care
more about the billions of dollars in profits they make each year and how to
increase those profits? Have these pharmacies gone rogue? Millions of
medication errors have caused illness and death in America – and this problem
has recently come into greater focus as pharmacists increasingly blow
the whistle on their employers.
Yet the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP)
doesn’t seem to be paying much attention to medication errors at U.S.
pharmacies. Instead, they choose to spend their time “educating” the public
about the dangers of prescription drug importation, warning Americans that it’s
not safe to buy lower-cost medicines from other countries over the Internet.
They have even included PharmacyChecker.com and this very blog (!) on a list of
over 12,000 “Not Recommended Sites” – websites that they have categorized as
safety threats from importation that put people and their families at risk. We
have sued them for defamation and antitrust violations.
Here’s proof that the NABP are paying relatively little
attention to medication errors compared to internet pharmacies. On the NABP’s
website, under the category of Medication
Errors, you’ll see seven posts and nothing since 2015. Under the
Pharmacies, you’ll find 122 posts.
This week was a breakthrough for holding accountable the
pharmaceutical industry for fueling
the opioid crisis, which is responsible for approximately 400,000 deaths
in the U.S. alone. In a landmark ruling, a judge in Oklahoma fined Johnson
& Johnson $572 million for deceptive and aggressive marketing practices of
opioid drugs that contributed to 6,000 deaths in that state. State prosecutors
were successful by charging the drug company under laws relating to “public
nuisances.” To remedy and remove the nuisance, the fine will go toward treatment,
education and prevention programs related to opioid drugs. This resonates
powerfully with me because, for years, I’ve observed how the drug industry abused
the opioid crisis as a lobbying and public relations tool against prescription
drug importation and to crack down against safe international online pharmacies,
and even against
PharmacyChecker. It has done so through its own trade associations and
companies and by funding organizations to do their bidding.
PharmacyChecker has proudly announced a new online pharmacy verification tool to make it easier for consumers to determine if a website is safe and accredited through the PharmacyChecker Verification Program. This verification portal can benefit patients, health care providers and caregivers considering lower-cost retail pharmacy options in Canada and other countries.
As we emphasized in our press release about the new portal, pharma-funded initiatives, like the “.Pharmacy Program” of the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP), do not help Americans seeking lower-cost and safe medicine from Canada and other countries. The NABP advises Americans not to buy and import medication. The stated intent of the NABP’s “.Pharmacy Program” is to help consumers find “legitimate” online pharmacies, which are ones that have registered a “.pharmacy” domain (e.g., Walgreens.pharmacy, Kroger.pharmacy, Walmart.pharmacy). Such household name U.S. online pharmacies are usually ones approved in the NABP’s Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites (VIPPS) program.