Can The Dot Pharmacy New Generic Domain Be Impartial? 21/07/2014 by Catherine Saez and William New, Intellectual Property Watch 2 Comments Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)New generic top-level domain names seem set to be a constant source of discussions and dissension. The domain “.pharmacy” has been awarded to a United States pharmacy association with industry backing, stirring concerns among civil society and others. But the association insists it will work in an impartial manner to ensure safety of online pharmaceutical sales. The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) announced in June that the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) decided upon NABP becoming the registry operator of the new “.pharmacy” domain. This “will soon provide a means for identifying safe online pharmacies and resources,” according to NABP, which adds that under the agreement with ICANN, the new generic top-level domain (gTLD) “will be available only to legitimate online pharmacies and related entities located in the United States or other countries.” The pharmacy gTLD is expected to be launched by NABP by autumn 2014. However, according to Gabriel Levitt, vice-president of the company PharmacyChecker.com, the main funders of the NABP application are Eli Lily, Merck and Pfizer, as shown on NABP “coalition support” web page. The NABP application for the .pharmacy domain has been challenged in the past at ICANN by several groups, such as Public Citizen, Knowledge Ecology International, and the Canadian International Pharmacy Association. According to Levitt, NABP “is apparently going much further than just creating rules for online pharmacies” as it “will also decide which companies, advocacy groups and other entities – such as those advocating policies to expand access to affordable medications – can obtain the .pharmacy domain ending,” he said. “NABP will become a global ICANN registry, dominated by an American pharmacy board association, funded by the big three drug companies,” he alleged. In a response [pdf] to the ICANN Government Advisory Committee (GAC), the NABP sought to settle concerns, arguing that it is “an impartial professional organization that supports the state boards of pharmacy in creating uniform regulations to protect public health,” and that it will work through an advisory committee with members of the pharmacy community to develop standards of operation for all domain registrants. The vast majority of websites currently selling pharmaceuticals online are doing so illegally, the response states. “NABP plans to operate .PHARMACY in line with [its] core mission of promoting public health and patient safety,” and will operate it using a “tightly controlled registration policy” restricting second-level registrations to the domain to licensed pharmacies and “prescription drug-related entities that are in good standing and in compliance with all applicable laws in the jurisdictions in which they dispense, ship or sell medications and that agree to conduct business according to all standards of operation.” Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Related Catherine Saez may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.William New may be reached at email@example.com."Can The Dot Pharmacy New Generic Domain Be Impartial?" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.