LegitScript, an online pharmacy certification program, announced today that it has succeeded in getting nearly 500 "rogue" Internet pharmacy websites shut down.
The sites had been selling prescription drugs or steroids without requiring a prescription, a practice that is illegal and considered unsafe by medical authorities. In most cases, the drugs were sold from outside of the United States.
"The Internet is a safer place today because these illicit prescription drug websites have been terminated," said John Horton, LegitScript's President.
Among the domain name registrars to take the lead in shuttering the rogue Internet pharmacies was Directi.
Horton praised the domain name registrars that terminated the rogue Internet pharmacies. "Directi, in particular, has been a leader in fighting rogue Internet pharmacies, and has steadily demonstrated its commitment to Internet safety by refusing to sponsor websites engaged in spam, malware, the illicit sale of prescription or other drugs, or similar activities."
The takedown also won praise from Internet safety proponents and prescription drug abuse experts. Susan Foster, Vice President at The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University (CASA), said, "CASA congratulates LegitScript for its successful shut down of hundreds of illegal Internet prescription drug trafficking sites. This work, done in cooperation with website registrars like Directi, provides a model that all website registrars should immediately adopt."
The websites were members of "online pharmacy affiliate programs" that allow people without any training as a pharmacist to operate their own online pharmacy and share in profits from the sale of prescription drugs without a valid prescription.
"Our family applauds the termination of these rogue online pharmacies," said Dan Pearson, whose son, Justin Pearson, overdosed and died after ordering drugs from a rogue Internet pharmacy. "Directi and other registrars that are taking a stand against these illicit Internet pharmacy affiliate networks are helping prevent future tragedies."
LegitScript is the largest online pharmacy verification service in the United States and has approved 185 online pharmacies as having met its baseline standards for legitimacy and safety. LegitScript does not accept payment or funding from the online pharmacies it reviews and approves.