LegitScript is a verification and monitoring service for online pharmacies. It is the only such service recognised by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) as adhering to its standards aside from the NABP's own VIPPS program.
The NABP has written that it endorses LegitScript on behalf of the government agencies that license and regulate pharmacies and pharmacists in the United States, Canada, and other jurisdictions for use "by search engine advertising programs, Domain Name Registrars, registries, payment processing companies, social media companies, and other Internet platforms to ensure that Internet platforms operate in compliance with applicable healthcare laws and regulations, and are not utilized in furtherance of the illicit sale of unregulated healthcare products". In addition, some EU government agencies have referred to LegitScript as the "appropriate authority" to which rogue Internet pharmacies should be reported. LegitScript has also worked with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to monitor and investigate Internet pharmacy websites.
LegitScript was founded by John Horton, who was a White House aide on drug policy issues from 2002 to 2007. Horton continues to serve as the company's President and also serves on the NASCAR Appeals Panel. The organization's main office was initially located in Arlington, Virginia, but is currently identified as being in Portland, Oregon. The company is identified by the Alliance for Safe Online Pharmacies as a founding member.
In July 2008, LegitScript released a report about 150 websites that offer to sell anabolic steroids over the Internet without requiring a prescription. This report was also featured in the New York Times, as well as on CNN's Anderson Cooper 360. The report resulted in the termination of large underground steroids rings and controversy on pro-steroids forums. LegitScript also released two reports analyzing Microsoft and Yahoo sponsored search results for Internet pharmacies. Subsequently, Google, Yahoo and Microsoft announced that they were updating their advertising policies related to Internet pharmacies, and would in the future require that Internet pharmacies be approved by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy's VIPPS program. Shortly thereafter, LegitScript announced that it would be helping Google implement the new policy by monitoring all prescription drug and pharmacy ads for the search engine. LegitScript states that it performs Google monitoring throughout North America, the EU, Russia and Asia for Google ads, and also identifies Microsoft, Amazon, Twitter and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as clients.
Domain name registrars
In November 2008, LegitScript launched its registrar notification program and reported that it had shut down 500 "rogue" Internet pharmacies by notifying their ISPs and domain name registrars. In May 2010, the company released a report regarding over 7,000 websites displaying a forged pharmacy license, indicating that it worked with 11 different domain name registrars to shut down the websites. In late 2012, the company stated that it had worked with registrars to shut down over 35,000 rogue Internet pharmacy websites in the previous four years.
As of early 2013, several domain name registrars explicitly state in their terms of services that they suspend and lock domain names identified as rogue Internet pharmacies by LegitScript, and outsource their abuse point-of-contact on Internet pharmacy issues to LegitScript. The company has stated that it works with most domain name registrars, and, in late 2012, it began publishing data showing that the websites of rogue Internet pharmacies "cluster" around a small number of registrars that LegitScript says ignore abuse notifications. It should be noted that Legitscript is not Law enforcement thus none of the registrars mentioned in the list above are required to comply with Legitscript.
In March 2010, consumer protection website SiteJabber announced that it would begin integrating LegitScript's legitimacy determinations into its Internet pharmacy ratings. In May 2010, the WOT Services announced a similar initiative in which LegitScript Internet pharmacy legitimacy determinations would be integrated into its reputation rankings.
Dietary supplements and designer drugs
LegitScript maintains a Healthcare Product Legitimacy program that monitors whether "dietary supplements have been the subject of regulatory action, are considered unsafe, or are marketed as miracle cures" and that is also endorsed by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy. In its advertising policies for healthcare and medicines, Google indicates that it uses LegitScript's healthcare product legitimacy program to determine which supplements and designer drugs should be restricted from advertising. LegitScript indicates that Microsoft, Twitter, and Amazon also use its product legitimacy program.
International Internet pharmacy certification
As of February 2013, LegitScript's website indicated that it had approved over 250 online pharmacy websites and documented over 48,000 "rogue" online pharmacy websites. The program is also endorsed by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy.
- LegitScript Shuts Down 500 No-Prescription-Required Online Pharmacies, InformationWeek