The Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites (VIPPS) is an evaluation and monitoring website that watches US internet drugstores. One of the signs that you are dealing with a VIPPS certified e-dispensary is if it has a .pharmacy on its domain name. Even web searches recognize this unique domain design of all VIPPS certified e-stores hence only online pharmacies with .pharmacies domain are allowed to advertise in Google, Yahoo, and Bing search engines.
In the US, state boards of pharmacy regulate internet drugstores. Each state boards has a jurisdiction over e-dispensaries in their area. When needed, the FDA and the DEA works with local state boards. This seems to be ineffective though as thousands of online pharmacies are sprouting with only 5% as legit. To help consumers avoid scammers and illegal internet drugstores, the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) established VIPPS. Consumers can also report a possible illegal e-drugstore to NABP or to VIPPS.
With its strong will to prevent US consumers from becoming a victim of fraud and receiving counterfeit medicines, the FDA prohibits the importation of medicines especially foreign-version of medicines (generic brands). Still, a lot of Americans are ordering from Canadian and Indian online pharmacies that don’t have the VIPPS seal because of pricing.
What Does it Mean to be A VIPPS Certified?
A VIPPS certified online pharmacy means that it is a legit online pharmacy. If you find a US-based online pharmacy with the VIPPS logo, then that e-store is flowing the federal regulations and is running their business properly. It means you are dealing with an internet pharmacy that requires a prescription before dispensing an Rx medicine. A VIPPS seal also means that the medicines you are purchasing are safe to use, effective, and real.
A VIPPS certified website also means that the website has been evaluated, monitored, and passed the requirements set by the VIPPS, NABP, and federal or state health regulatory boards. Why do we still find online pharmacies without VIPPS seal?
- Only US-based online pharmacies can apply for VIPPS seal. Canadian, Mexican, and Indian online pharmacies are not under the jurisdiction of VIPPS and NABP
- Some US online pharmacies are not applying for VIPPS because of its rigorous process
- Consumers do not see much VIPPS approved online pharmacies because they are using Canadian online pharmacies
- Consumers still prefer cheap medicines from Canadian and other foreign-based online pharmacies as compared to more expensive drugs sold by US-based online pharmacies
A VIPPS logo is a bragging right. It means that you are dealing with a legit online pharmacy. It means that you are going to pay for real drugs. However, the limitation of VIPPS is too big as it can only monitor US online pharmacies and most online pharmacies operating on the World Wide Web are actually from outside the US.
VIPPS Canadian Pharmacy Requirements
What are the requirements to apply for a VIPPS certification? For online pharmacies that are eyeing a VIPPS logo, the first thing you need to secure is a .pharmacy domain name. This is the first criteria that the board looks at.
Once you already have a .pharmacy domain, you should submit an application form to VIPPS. Once received, they will review your application, your registration and license to operate. They will also ask for the name of the owners of the e-store and will do a background check on the owners. As owners of an online pharmacy, you should have a clean record with no pending criminal or civil case.
After checking your submitted documents, the VIPPS committee will do an evaluation of how you run your store if you ask for prescriptions, your policies, terms, and conditions, how you secure your customers’ information, and how you ship orders.
If everything is okay, VIPPS will respond to your request with a positive note but if your application gets rejected, you have to wait for 180 days before you can submit another application.
VIPPS Pharmacy Certification
With the hassles involved in applying for a VIPPS seal, why would an internet pharmacy bother when the World Wide Web is full of foreign online pharmacies without a VIPPS logo?
Honestly, as a consumer, I would prefer to purchase my medicines from online pharmacies with seals from monitoring and health regulatory boards like VIPPS, Pharmacy Checker, MIPA, CIPA, WHO, and the FDA. Most internet drugstores are striving to receive the VIPPS logo because they can use it to assure their customers that they belong to the 5% of legal online pharmacies on the web.
For business-minded people who are planning to start an online pharmacy in the US, it is best to comply to federal and state board health regulations and get a VIPPS seal because it can increase your chance over foreign internet drugstores.
VIPPS pharmacies are internet drugstores with the VIPPS logo or seal. It means that these are e-dispensaries that are following state rules and federal policies when it comes to dispensing, regulating, and shipping prescription medicines. Dealing with these stores means that you are safe from scammers and from counterfeit medicines.
It is important to take note though that VIPPS only monitors US online pharmacies. Other internet drugshops such as those that are based in Canada, India or Mexico are not part of the VIPPS certification. These e-stores are also the ones offering cheap medications. Between safety and affordability, what would you choose? We can say go for the cheap ones but run a thorough check to ensure that you are dealing with a legit online pharmacy. It just takes a little patience and a few minutes to check whether an e-dispensary is legit or not. If you knew how to look, you can easily avoid becoming a victim of these fraudulent websites. For a safer shopping, you can also check our list of recommended online pharmacies.