Proliferation of Rogue Online Drug Sellers Feeds Prescription Drug Abuse Epidemic, NABP Reports

October 31, 2014

The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy® (NABP®) today issued a report highlighting a connection between the proliferation of rogue online drug sellers and the prescription drug abuse epidemic. As detailed in the Internet Drug Outlet Identification Program Progress Report for State and Federal Regulators: October 2014, many illegal online drug sellers offer dangerous and addictive prescription drugs without a valid prescription, contributing to the incidence of misuse and abuse and endangering the lives of people who order them.

To explore the current scope of the problem, NABP conducted a key word Internet search for commonly abused prescription drugs such as Vicodin®, Percocet®, and OxyContin®. Revealing just how easy it is to obtain controlled substances with the click of the mouse, the research concluded that three out of five search results led to rogue Internet drug outlets selling these types of controlled substances without a valid prescription.

With the increasing pervasiveness of these rogue online drug sellers, the need for public education and tools to easily identify a safe online pharmacy is critical. To protect consumers buying medications online, NABP launched the .Pharmacy Top-Level Domain (TLD) program as a means for identifying safe, legal, and ethical online pharmacies and pharmacy resources. Only legitimate Internet pharmacies and related entities will qualify for .pharmacy domains, giving consumers a way to distinguish safe sites from rogue sites. NABP plans to start accepting applications for .pharmacy domains in late 2014. After a series of special registration periods in the first half of 2015, .pharmacy domain names will be generally available to eligible pharmacy community members starting in mid-2015.

As indicated in the report released today, NABP has reviewed more than 10,860 Internet drug outlets, and 96% (10,473) of the sites reviewed operate out of compliance with United States pharmacy laws and practice standards and are listed as Not Recommended on NABP’s prescription drug safety website, Of the 10,473 sites, 88% do not require a valid prescription, 12% dispense controlled substances, and 91% appear to have affiliations with rogue networks of Internet drug outlets.

For the full report with detailed findings on the characteristics of rogue websites, visit

To find the safest sources for purchasing medicine online, consumers are encouraged to look for the Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites® (VIPPS®) Seal on an accredited site and check NABP’s list of accredited sites on its prescription drug safety website, In addition, .pharmacy sites will be posted at as organizations register .pharmacy domain names. More information about the .pharmacy TLD is available at

NABP is the independent, international, and impartial Association that assists its state member boards and jurisdictions for the purpose of protecting the public health.