Is Your Pharmacy Ready?
A Step-by-Step Guide to VIPPS Accreditation
As part of the accreditation process, NABP verifies that all necessary state pharmacy licenses are in good standing, verifies that licenses held by the pharmacist-in-charge are in good standing, and evaluates the pharmacy’s Web site and documentation including policies and procedures.
Documentation is assessed against VIPPS criteria, a 19-point measure of a pharmacy’s:
- Licensure and policy maintenance
- Compliance with state and federal regulations on prescription drug orders and over-the-counter products
- Protection of patient information
- Provision for quality care between the pharmacist and patient
- Methods of storage and shipment of drugs and devices
- Maintenance of quality improvement programs
- Processes for reporting information to NABP
VIPPS applicants should comply with the Ryan Haight Online Pharmacy Consumer Protection Act of 2008 and the Methamphetamine Production Prevention Act of 2008. The Ryan Haight Act amends the Controlled Substances Act to address online pharmacies. The Methamphetamine Production Prevention Act provides for stricter safeguards on the sale of methamphetamine precursor drugs.
- The pharmacy Web site must be live and operational
- Proof of modified Drug Enforcement Administration registration authorizing the pharmacy to dispense controlled substances via the Internet
- Correct and up-to-date licensing and registration of facilities and staff
- Web site evaluation
- Compliance with VIPPS criteria
- Compliance with policy and procedure standards
- On-site survey
Before submitting an application for VIPPS accreditation, please review the VIPPS criteria and Web site standards.
The application instructions can help you work your way through the online application.
Applicants first submit an online application, supporting documentation, pay the applicable fee, and accept the terms of the NABP VIPPS refund policy. NABP will then:
- Verify all necessary state pharmacy licenses are in good standing
- Verify the pharmacist-in-charge licenses are in good standing
- Check the NABP Clearinghouse to determine disciplinary actions levied against the pharmacy and pharmacist-in-charge
- Evaluate the supporting documents and review Web site
- Compliance with Web site standards
- Review the pharmacy’s policies and procedures
- Notify the applicant if discrepancies arise or clarification is needed and provide applicant the opportunity to remediate
Pharmacies seeking VIPPS accreditation will need to provide the required supplemental documentation. The application instructions include a list of required supplemental documents. All documents must be submitted electronically to NABP.
Upon submitting the application and fee, NABP will provide the Policies and Procedures Guidance Checklist, which identifies documentation needed when applying and maintaining VIPPS accreditation. It should be used to prepare your pharmacy’s policies and procedures, and represents a self-appraisal tool to gauge the your readiness for accreditation.
After receiving the Policies and Procedures Guidance Checklist, new applicants will have 90 days to prepare and submit policies and procedures to NABP for evaluation and confirmation of compliance with VIPPS criteria. NABP will conduct a thorough review of your policies and procedures against the VIPPS criteria and provide an opportunity to address any deficiencies found through the review.
The application instructions include further important details on submitting supplemental documentations necessary to complete your accreditation process.
After the documentation and Web site are evaluated and preliminarily determined to meet criteria, an on-site survey of the pharmacy is scheduled to evaluate the operations and policies and to interview staff to determine compliance with the VIPPS criteria.
An applicant for VIPPS accreditation or a VIPPS-accredited entity that has more than one dispensing facility may require additional surveys to confirm program compliance. In that case, the applicant would be subject to additional survey fees.
NABP conducts on-site surveys during the initial accreditation process and once every three years as part of routine reassessment. Surveys may also be required based on the scenarios listed below. In those cases, the applicant would be subject to survey fees.
- Upon receipt of complaint against an accredited pharmacy
- At the request of a participant in the course of a VIPPS accreditation suspension action
- Relocation of the pharmacy
Following review of the application materials, verification of submitted information and licensure, evaluation of the Web site, and the survey, a written report will be sent to the pharmacy. Satisfactory reports may result in accreditation. Upon being awarded accreditation, the applicant must sign a VIPPS Letter of Agreement to finalize accreditation. NABP will then provide the accredited pharmacy with the VIPPS Seal for posting on its Web site and the VIPPS certificate for display at the pharmacy or corporate office.
The timeline of the VIPPS accreditation process varies from applicant to applicant and usually takes several months for all documents, Web site, and survey results to be compiled and reviewed.
Initial payment is due with the VIPPS application, and an annual fee is charged to maintain VIPPS accreditation. See Fees for more information.
Credit card is the only acceptable method of payment and can be made online during the application process.
VIPPS-accredited pharmacies undergo an annual review of registration, licensing, and updated information.
In addition, NABP requires that a VIPPS-accredited pharmacy undergo an on-site survey and re-evaluation of its Web site once every three years as part of maintaining accreditation. Policies and procedures may be required to be submitted and re-reviewed as part of annual compliance requirements, reaccreditation, or if the scope of the pharmacy changes (ie, ownership, location, types of products offered).
By displaying the VIPPS Seal on the pharmacy's Web site, the pharmacy is demonstrating its commitment to quality pharmacy practice. The VIPPS Seal, a well-recognized symbol of health and safety, alerts consumers of the pharmacy’s dedication to patient care.
The elite group of online pharmacies that bear the Seal are providing patients with the comfort afforded by NABP’s hundred-year heritage of dedication to protecting public health. Patients who see the VIPPS Seal appreciate the clear, understandable, and professionally reviewed comprehensive company information it provides.