Vet-VIPPS Frequently Asked Questions
- What is the Vet-VIPPS Program?
- How can customers verify the validity of pet pharmacy sites?
- Who regulates online pet pharmacies?
- How does NABP work with government agencies that regulate online pet pharmacies?
- What organization can I contact regarding the regulation of online pet pharmacies?
- What if I believe an online pet pharmacy has dispensed the wrong medication or labeled the medication incorrectly?
- What are the signs of a suspiciously operating pharmacy?
- I experienced poor customer service from, or read negative online reviews of, a pharmacy doing business over the internet, and I noticed that NABP has accredited/approved this business. Can NABP revoke accreditation/approval from this business or intervene?
1. What is the Vet-VIPPS Program?
The Veterinary-Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites (Vet-VIPPS) accreditation is for United States-based online pharmacies that dispense prescription drugs and devices for companion and non-food producing animals. Its accompanying Vet-VIPPS seal of approval identifies to the public those online pet pharmacy practice sites that are appropriately licensed, are legitimately operating via the internet, and have successfully completed a thorough criteria review and on-site survey.
In August 2016, NABP announced it is no longer accepting new Vet-VIPPS applications, renewals, or reaccreditation applications. The Association is incorporating the Vet-VIPPS program into the .Pharmacy Top-Level Domain Program to streamline its accreditation and approval programs. Those interested in getting a .pharmacy domain name may visit www.safe.pharmacy for more information. Facilities that currently have Vet-VIPPS accreditation may maintain all program privileges until it officially ends on August 31, 2017.
2. How can consumers verify the validity of pet pharmacy sites?
Clicking on the Vet-VIPPS Seal displayed on the pharmacy’s website links the user to the Vet-VIPPS verification web page that then verifies that the Seal is indeed posted on a Vet-VIPPS accredited site. In such an instance, the user is then shown pharmacy-specific information, including licensure information.
3. Who regulates online pet pharmacies?
The state boards of pharmacy have primary responsibility for regulation of online pet pharmacies. Regulatory authority is mainly exercised by the state board of pharmacy of the state in which the pet pharmacy is physically located. In addition, most states require licensing for out-of-state pharmacies that ship medications to patients in their jurisdictions. The same regulations that apply to traditional brick-and-mortar and mail-order pharmacies typically apply to online pharmacies. Federal agencies, such as Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), are also partners with the state boards of pharmacy in this regulatory process.
4. How does NABP work with government agencies that regulate online pharmacies?
NABP has strong working relationships with the state boards of pharmacy and the federal regulatory agencies. Surveyor training programs and the “Report a Site” feature on the NABP website are examples of ways in which NABP helps regulatory agencies monitor and investigate rogue internet drug outlets.
5. What organization can I contact regarding the regulation of online pet pharmacies?
Your first contact should be the local state board of pharmacy. You may also subscribe to NABPLAW®, the NABP state pharmacy laws and rules database, which allows users to research subjects one state at a time or across all 50 states.
6. What if I believe an online pet pharmacy has dispensed the wrong medication or labeled the medication incorrectly?
Please report these incidents to your local state board of pharmacy as well as to the board of pharmacy in the state where the pet pharmacy is located. You should also contact the pharmacy that mistakenly dispensed the medication and report to your veterinarian. Vet-VIPPS accredited pharmacies are required to document, track, and analyze these types of incidents to determine what went wrong and to prevent recurrences.
7. What are the signs of a suspiciously operating pharmacy?
You may find this information on the Why Buying Online Can Be Risky page of the safe.pharmacy website. This section of the website provides a list of safe online pharmacy sites as well as helpful information to educate patients on the dangers of buying prescription drugs from unknown and unapproved sources over the internet, including the signs of a suspiciously operating internet drug outlet.
Please report suspiciously operating pet pharmacies to NABP by completing and submitting the “Report a Site” online form.
8. I experienced poor customer service from, or read negative online reviews of, a pharmacy doing business over the internet, and I noticed that NABP has accredited/approved this business. Can NABP revoke accreditation/approval from this business or intervene?
For its Accreditation programs, NABP evaluates only businesses’ adherence to state and federal pharmacy practice laws and best pharmacy practice standards. Unless your complaint centers on a component of an Accreditation program criteria or standard, NABP cannot intervene. NABP has no control over businesses’ customer service or marketing practices. If you have serious concerns about any business you encounter, please contact the state board of pharmacy in which that business is located or a local law enforcement authority.