VAWD, or Verified-Accredited Wholesale Distributors, is an accreditation for pharmaceutical wholesale distribution facilities. Those wholesale distributors that achieve accreditation are in compliance with state and federal laws and NABP's VAWD criteria and proudly display the VAWD Seal.
VAWD accreditation plays a pivotal role in preventing counterfeit drugs from entering the United States drug supply – it helps protect the public from drugs that have been contaminated, diverted, or counterfeited. The US supply of prescription drugs is produced and delivered to patients via a complex distribution path, and VAWD accreditation helps ensure that the wholesale distribution facility operates legitimately, is licensed in good standing, and is employing security and best practices for safely distributing prescription drugs from manufacturers to pharmacies and other institutions.
Wholesale distributers that display the VAWD Seal as part of their accreditation have undergone a criteria compliance review, including a rigorous review of their operating policies and procedures, licensure verification, survey of facility and operations, background checks, and screening through the NABP Clearinghouse. Accredited facilities are reviewed annually and undergo a site survey every three years.
The state boards of pharmacy play an important role in regulating the drug supply chain. State laws and regulations that the boards develop help protect the public from receiving medications that have been contaminated or counterfeited.
To aid board efforts, NABP convened a task force in 2003 on counterfeit drugs and wholesale distributers, which recommended revisions to NABP’s Model Rules for the Licensure of Wholesale Distributors that would make it difficult for illegitimate wholesalers to become licensed and transact business. These Model Rules are a subset of the Model State Pharmacy Act and Model Rules of the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy, a document on which many states model their state pharmacy practice acts.
The task force also proposed the creation of an accreditation program and clearinghouse for wholesale distributers – a plan that was immediately supported by Food and Drug Administration – to further combat counterfeit drugs. The resulting accreditation program, VAWD, was established in 2004.
Twenty-one states recognize VAWD accreditation. Many of these states recognize VAWD as a means of implementing the licensing provisions of new laws, while mitigating the fiscal and operational impact on their board.
Of the 21 states that recognize VAWD, Indiana, North Dakota, and Wyoming require VAWD accreditation as a component of licensure. See the accreditation process for further information on state-specific requirements.
VAWD Accreditation Process Overview
Applicants first submit an application, supporting documentation, and pay the applicable fee.
NABP will then:
- Verify the wholesale distributor’s and designated representative’s licenses
- Screen the applicant against the NABP Clearinghouse for disciplinary or other actions
- Perform applicable criminal and financial background checks
- Review policies and procedures for compliance with VAWD criteria. (Applicants address policy and procedure deficiencies as directed by NABP).
- Wholesale distributor’s facility is surveyed on site. (Applicants address survey deficiencies as directed by NABP).
Applicants have 90 days after receiving the Policies & Procedures Guidance Checklist to submit all documentation, including electronic copies of official policies and procedures. A survey will not be performed until policies and procedures and all supplemental documentation, including licensing and registration, are reviewed and proven acceptable.