The Bing search engine, which is registered with the Centre for Safe Internet Pharmacies (CISP), has rolled out measures that will help users to identify and stay away from using those pharmacies that are considered illegal. A major problem that many buyers face when using an online pharmacy is the fact that a number of them operate in a spurious manner. This leads to the user experiencing problems like fake pills, data theft, misuse of credit card information, and such. CISP and its members take efforts to identify the rogue online drugstores and Bing is one such company that has invested in some practices.
The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP), which also takes efforts to promote safe practices, recently released a report in which 10, 668 internet pharmacies were identified as ‘Not Recommended.’ They noted that a number of these places offered drugs not approved by the US FDA, did not have a location listed and that 90% of them had affiliations with rogue websites. The intention of CISP is that customers should be well-informed about a place before making the purchase, for which Bing too is participating in this endeavor.
What are the steps taken by Bing to protect patients from rogue online pharmacies?
Bing knows for a fact that buyers are at serious risk when they use illegal internet pharmacies. With the goal of helping customers to make informed buying decisions, they have issued notices if any illegal virtual drugstores are clicked on. The ‘not recommended’ warning includes the addition of resources that explicitly state that a particular page is not safe for use. The FDA warning is also posted and Bing advises customers to choose any alternative place that adheres to safe health practices. The displaying of the FDA’s warning is done for all the rogue digital pharmacies blacklisted by the FDA. The warning is also shown if the virtual drugstore clicked on is suspected of containing any malware.
Another way that users are warned regarding certain places is when they use certain search terms. For instance, if the search terms are considered as unsafe and do not comply with FDA guidelines then warning about using that particular place is displayed before the search results.
In a statement, Bing noted that the number of illegal online drugstores for which the warnings would be posted will continue to evolve and grow. They are also continuously looking for ways through which the customer is assured of buying medications from a legitimate online pharmacy. The collaboration between Microsoft’s Bing and CISP has helped explore the ways through which purchasing medications online can be made safer. For now, tackling those online pharmacies that operate illegally would be the primary focus.