NEW YORK — One-third or more of rogue online pharmacy domains are under one Internet registrar, with two registrars accounting for more than half, according to a new report.
LegitScript, a Portland, Ore.-based company that verifies online pharmacies, went undercover posing as an online organized crime network called "Pay-Rx.biz" and approached Internet.bs, a registrar apparently based in Panama and registered in the Bahamas, saying it was interested in having Internet.bs host its illegal online pharmacies after the Food and Drug Administration, Interpol and other regulatory authorities had shut down its previous operation. LegitScript went to great lengths to show the illegality of Pay-Rx.biz's business — including saying that it was selling such controlled medications as oxycodone without prescription, that it was selling counterfeit medicines — to the point that it "literally ran out" of ways to show how its business was illicit.
Nevertheless, LegitScript said, Internet.bs was "glad to help" and provided its president's personal cell phone number, showing how Pay-Rx.biz could protect the more than 175 domains it registered — such as Oxycodonenoprescription.com and Noprescriptionrequired.biz — in addition to saying it would ignore notifications from regulators. It also said it would ignore alerts from LegitScript itself, which had tried to alert Internet.bs to its hosting of rogue pharmacies in 2010, but its notifications were ignored.
According to the report, Internet.bs, one of about 450 domain name registrars accredited by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, accounts for 0.2% of the total registered domains online, but between 32.9% and 44% of the rogue online pharmacy domains, not including the ones that LegitScript registered. Another registrar, ABSystems, has an additional 17.3% of rogue pharmacy domain names. Out of all the accredited registrars, 20 account for 81% of rogue online pharmacies, according to the report.
Following the release of the report, Internet.bs announced on its website that it had suspended 176 "illegal pharma domains explicitly setup by unscrupulous and pretend-to-be customers trying to fool regulators and circumvent applicable pharma regulations," listing the same domain names that LegitScript had registered. Still, Pharm4All.com, a separate rogue pharmacy that the LegitScript report named as using Internet.bs' services and is also on the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy's "Not Recommended Sites" list, remained active as of Monday evening.