The Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Site or Sites (VIPPS) is an accredited website that monitors online pharmacies. It started doing its monitoring and accreditation works in 1991. The goal of VIPPS is to ensure that online pharmacies operating on the web are legit and safe to use. According to a VIPPS record, at least 95% of internet drugstores worldwide are rogue or operating illegally.
On the standards of VIPPS, an online pharmacy is rogue or unsafe if:
- It is an internet pharmacy that is ‘not complaint with the US pharmacy laws and practice standards’
- It is an internet pharmacy that doesn’t care about its patients’ welfare hence they keep on dispensing Rx medicines without asking for a prescription
- It is an internet pharmacy that fraudulent people set-up to scam other people
- It is an internet pharmacy that offers counterfeit medicines, substandard drugs or expired drugs
How VIPPS Works?
VIPPS monitors, check, and certify online pharmacies in terms of safety and if they are following medical rules and regulations. They check internet drugstores’ practices and if they are compliant with the law. If you want to be certified because you are operating an online pharmacy, you have to apply on the VIPPS website. As a business owner, you can contact [email protected] or the https://nabp.pharmacy/about/contact/ – the contact page of NABP.
Here are the step-by-step process conducted by VIPPS when certifying an online pharmacy:
- They will set a date for site (local drugstores) inspection or website inspection. The inspection will focus on VIPPS criteria, state rules, federal rules, pharmacy policies and procedures and implementations of the said rules and procedures
- The result of the survey will be sent to the business owner. If approved, the said online pharmacy can now put a VIPPS logo on their website
- If your application was rejected, you have to wait for 180 days or 6 months to re-apply
The question of whether we can trust VIPPS rating is not over-rated. They are just there to monitor online pharmacies and ensure that everyone is doing the right and legal thing when it comes to dispensing prescription medicines. We strongly believe that the foundation of VIPPS as an evaluation website is legit and useful.
One of the things they check is the domain of the internet drugstore in question. The domain must be active and is currently operating. During the accreditation period, the said website must remain active. The next thing that VIPPS checks are the owner/s of the site. The owners should clean and in good standing in their area with no criminal cases. Another thing that VIPPS checks are the documents, policies, terms, and conditions that the pharmacy is employing in their operation. Lastly, the said online pharmacy under evaluation must be compliant with all state and federal laws concerning proper handling, storing and dispensing of medicines, especially prescription medicines.
Aside from these criteria, VIPPS also checks if the store handles and store patient information with utmost confidentially. They are also evaluated against handling a patient’s request such as asking for a prescription and having checkups.
Overall, the things that VIPPS checks are:
- Licensure and policy maintenance
- Patient information
- Storage and shipment
To date, a new update on the VIPPS criteria revealed that applicants for VIPPS seal no longer need to have a .pharmacy domain.
VIPPS and Best Online Pharmacies
Why should an online pharmacy aim to get a VIPPS approval? A certification from VIPPS means that you are dealing with a legal online pharmacy. It means they are offering safe medicines, medicines that were tested and have passed quality checks. In addition, online pharmacies with VIPPS seal are:
- Eligible to advertise their online pharmacy or e-store on different search engines such as Google, Yahoo, and Bing
- Eligible to transact and use Visa and MasterCard as a payment method. These credit card companies do not want to be associated with scam online shops hence they only partner with legit online pharmacies
- Qualified to brag about their privilege as a VIPPS certified online pharmacy. Since very few internet drugstores have the much coveted VIPPS seal, it serves as a bragging right for these e-dispensaries to have it
Before ordering from an online pharmacy, make sure to double check it with VIPPS. The website is easy to use as you just have to input the name of the e-store or their domain and click on ‘go.’ The result will be a publication where the searched internet pharmacy was certified or rejected. For example, we searched for “Pillpack, Inc” and we got a result for November-December 2014 Newsletter. On the said newsletter was a news about the newly VIPPS accredited online pharmacy which was Pillpack, Inc.
The Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Site or Sites (VIPPS) is a monitoring and evaluation website that focuses on checking online pharmacies. Their goal is to let consumers know of e-dispensaries that they can trust based on the criteria set by VIPPS.
The criteria set by NBPS (National Association of Board Pharmacy) and VIPPS is a way to monitor all operating online pharmacies. It could have been good but the only pharmacies they are monitoring and evaluating are American and US-based online pharmacies. If VIPPS can devise a wider initiative to monitor and evaluate other internet drugstores from other countries, this might help more people from being scammed online.
Since the VIPPS logo is only on US-based online pharmacies, what we can suggest is for you to do your own evaluation when purchasing your medicine from say a Canadian or Mexican online pharmacy. Always read and research first before making a purchase.