Today, the vast majority of websites selling prescription drugs online are doing so illegally – many of them selling substandard/spurious/falsely-labelled/falsified/counterfeit medical products and drugs. NABP has reviewed more than 10,800 Internet drug outlets selling prescription medications and found nearly 97% to be out of compliance with United States pharmacy laws and practice standards that protect the public health. Of these websites identified as Not Recommended, nearly half offer foreign or non-Food and Drug Administration-approved drugs, and many distribute dangerous counterfeits to unsuspecting consumers.

NABP will establish the .pharmacy domain as a secure and trustworthy destination where consumers around the globe can be sure the medications they buy online are safe. NABP will ensure that all registrants within the .pharmacy generic Top-Level Domain (gTLD) are vetted prior to registration to confirm that they meet all applicable regulatory standards, including pharmacy licensure, drug authenticity, and valid prescription requirements, in the jurisdictions where they are based as well as where they serve patients.

NABP, with the support of a global coalition of stakeholders, applied to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) in June 2012 to own and operate the new .pharmacy gTLD. The application passed ICANN’s initial evaluation in May 2013 and, in February 2014, ICANN deemed NABP eligible to enter contract negotiations.

.Pharmacy and the Global Pharmacy Community

NABP applied for .pharmacy as a community-based gTLD representing legitimate online pharmacies and prescription drug-related organizations worldwide. This global pharmacy community includes, but is not limited to:

  • Independent community pharmacies
  • Chain pharmacies and any retailers offering pharmacy services
  • Internet pharmacies
  • Pharmacy benefit management companies
  • Veterinary pharmacies
  • Schools and colleges of pharmacy and continuing professional education providers
  • Wholesale drug distributors
  • Pharmaceutical manufacturers
  • Durable medical equipment, prosthetics, orthotics, and supplies providers
  • Prescription drug-related patient advocacy and consumer education groups
  • Prescription drug information and pharmacy referral sites
  • Medical professionals advertising services related to a prescription drug

.Pharmacy Application Process Information

Establishing the .pharmacy gTLD began in early 2012 with NABP's application to ICANN. Learn more about each step of the process below.

>> Application: NABP announces its application for the .pharmacy domain suffix and explains why in the cover story (PDF) of the May 2012 NABP Newsletter.

>>Outreach: As it awaits ICANN's initial evaluation decision, NABP develops strategies (PDF) for educating the pharmacy community and consumers about the initiative.

>>Development: The first .pharmacy gTLD advisory committee meeting is held in February 2013 (PDF). The group discusses potential governance models and program standards, which are described in the committee's report (PDF) and governance document (PDF).

>>Approval: In May 2013, NABP's .pharmacy proposal passes initial ICANN evaluation. In February 2014, ICANN gives NABP approval to enter contract negotiations. NABP is continuing work on operationalizing the .pharmacy registry. 

>>Onboarding: NABP and ICANN execute a Registry Agreement in June 2014; under the agreement, NABP becomes the Registry Operator for .pharmacy. NABP initiates the registry onboarding process, which includes performance of pre-delegation testing to ensure that NABP and its technical partners have the capacity to operate the new .pharmacy gTLD in a stable and secure manner.