MOUNT PROSPECT, Ill. Microsoft has begun requiring online pharmacies to obtain accreditation through the Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites program as a precondition for displaying ads on its search engine, Bing.com.
The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy, which created the VIPPS program more than a decade ago, heralded the decision. A February 2008 study revealed that of the more than 6,000 websites selling drugs, 96% appeared to be out of compliance with pharmacy laws and practice standards, dispensing prescription drugs to patients without valid prescriptions or medical oversight, many of them substandard, contaminated or counterfeit.
“NABP is pleased to work with companies to help weed out rogue Internet drug outlets that place patient safety at risk for the purpose of profit,” NABP executive committee chairman Gary Schnabel said. “We applaud Microsoft for barring these sites and for prioritizing consumer safety above advertising dollars.”