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Consumers Urged to Seek the VIPPS Seal When Buying Prescription Drugs Online.

BELLEVUE, Wash. -- In light of recent reports that the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency seized imported counterfeit Tamiflu(R), drugstore.com, inc. (NASDAQ:DSCM), a leading online retailer of health, beauty, vision, and pharmacy products, reminds consumers to purchase prescription drugs over the Internet only at online pharmacies bearing the VIPPS(R) seal.

"As consumers continue to turn to the Internet for access to hard-to-find medications such as Tamiflu or for better prices on drugs not covered by insurance or Medicare such as Viagra(R), Cialis(R) and Propecia(R), they need to be extra vigilant to ensure they aren't receiving counterfeit, improperly stored, diluted or otherwise tainted medication," said Matthew Stepka, vice president of pharmacy, drugstore.com, inc. "The VIPPS seal lets consumers shop online with confidence."

The Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites(TM) program (VIPPS) is a certification program of the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy. Pharmacies authorized to display the VIPPS seal on their Web site are in compliance with licensing and inspection requirements of their state and each state to which they dispense pharmaceuticals, as well as with stringent pharmacy practice criteria. For example, VIPPS-certified pharmacies must:

--Detail how the pharmacy's policies and procedures are organized, authorized, reviewed, revised, and retired/archived;

--Provide that, in conflicts that arise between individual state laws or regulations and/or between state and federal laws and regulations, the more stringent law or regulation is followed;

--Prevent the prescription drug order from being submitted, honored, and filled by multiple pharmacies;

--Assure that prescription medications are not prescribed or dispensed based upon telephonic, electronic, or online medical consultations without a pre-existing patient-prescriber relationship and an in-person physical examination;

--Assure reasonable verification of the identity of the patient, prescriber, and, if appropriate, caregiver;

--Require patient medication profiles and other related data to be maintained in a readily accessible format organized to facilitate consultation with the prescriber, patient, or caregiver;

--Detail the steps in conducting prospective drug use reviews prior to dispensing of medications or medical devices;

--Ensure patient confidentiality and the protection of patient identity and patient-specific information from inappropriate or non-essential access, use, or distribution while such information is being transmitted via the Internet and while the pharmacy possesses such information;

--Demonstrate that a mechanism is in place for patients to report errors and suspected adverse drug reactions and detailing the pharmacy's response to such reports;

--Provide a mechanism to contact the patient and prescriber if an undue delay is encountered in delivering a prescribed drug or device;

--Inform patients or caregivers about drug recalls;

--Educate patients or caregivers about the appropriate means to dispose of expired, damaged, and for securing and tracing shipments of controlled substances;

--Assure medications and devices are maintained within appropriate temperature, light, and humidity standards, as established by the United States Pharmacopeia, during storage and shipment;

--Demonstrate compliance with applicable federal and state laws regarding the sale of over-the-counter products identified as precursors to the manufacture or compounding of illegal drugs; and

--Demonstrate implementation of an ongoing Quality Assurance/Quality Improvement (QA/QI) program.

drugstore.com, inc. is one of 12 online pharmacies to have earned NABP accreditation. Consumers can find out more about VIPPS certification and confirm their pharmacy's certification by simply clicking on the VIPPS Seal displayed on their pharmacy's Web site. The NABP also lists VIPPS-certified online pharmacies on their Web site at www.nabp.net/vipps/consumer/listall.asp.

About drugstore.com, inc.

The drugstore.com pharmacy was one of the first pharmacies awarded VIPPS certification and is the leading online health, beauty, vision, and pharmacy solution in the world. A full-service, licensed retail pharmacy; the drugstore.com(TM) pharmacy offers private e-mail access to pharmacists, as well as an automated system for informing consumers of recalls or any other issues with products they have purchased on the site.

drugstore.com, inc. (NASDAQ:DSCM) is a leading online provider of health, beauty, vision, and pharmacy products. The drugstore.com(TM) online store provides a convenient, private, and informative shopping experience that encourages consumers to purchase products essential to healthy, everyday living. The online store offers thousands of brand-name personal health care products at competitive prices; a full-service, licensed retail pharmacy; and a wealth of health-related information, buying guides, and other tools designed to help consumers make informed purchasing decisions. Consumers can personalize their shopping experiences with shopping lists, e-mail reminders for replenishing regularly used products, and private e-mail access to pharmacists and beauty experts for questions.
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Publication:Business Wire
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Dec 22, 2005
Words:746
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