Magazine article Drug Topics

.Pharmacy Domain Name Passes Initial ICANN Evaluation

Magazine article Drug Topics

.Pharmacy Domain Name Passes Initial ICANN Evaluation

Article excerpt

LEGAL COMPLIANCE Ned Milenkovich, PharmD, JD

NABP effort seeks to protect consumers worldwide

In June 2012, the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) applied to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) in an effort to own and operate the .PHARMACY suffix, which is otherwise referred to as a generic top-level domain (gTLD). Other commonly used gTLD's in the marketplace are .edu, .gov, .org, and .com. The purpose of such application relates to NABP's desire to create a secure and trustworthy online space for pharmacies. Only "legitimate" pharmacy operators who are compliant with applicable pharmacy laws and regulations will be permitted to register domain names in .pharmacy, according to NABP

Where it stands

The new suffix received initial approval from ICANN in May 2013, and NABP is poised to launch the gTLD in the next several months. Use will begin while ICANN moves the domain application through the final approval stages. Remaining issues relate to a registry agreement with ICANN and the vetting of technical apparatus ensuring that NABP and its technical partners have the proper operational safeguards in place to manage the .pharmacy gTLD in a stable and secure manner.

NABP collaborated on the ICANN initiative with other parties concerned about the distribution by illegal online drugsellers of products that endanger patient health and safety. Its partners included international regulatory bodies, pharmacy organizations, and law enforcement agencies. Stakeholders who supported the effort included the Alliance for Safe Online Pharmacies, the European Alliance forAccess to Safe Medicines, the International Pharmaceutical Federation, INTERPOL, the National Association of Pharmacy Regulatory Authorities, and many state pharmacy boards.

Protect the public

Of overriding concern is the proliferation of websites purporting to sell legitimate prescription drugs to unsuspecting consumers. Such patients may be purchasing prescription drugs that are not FDA-approved or are products of foreign markets. These chugs may be counterfeit, substandard, or adulterated medications distributed by internet sellers who are out of compliance with pharmacy laws, regulations, and practice standards intended to protect the public from harm.

For example, in January 2013, NABP reviewed 10,275 websites purporting to be legitimate pharmacy operators. …

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