[At-Large] News on the .health TLD allocation

John Horton john.horton at legitscript.com
Sun Aug 31 16:45:17 UTC 2014

Hi everyone,

Just thought I'd jump in on this. While I don't want to deign to speak for
.HEALTH (or .PHARMACY), since we'll be involved in the monitoring, thought
it might be helpful to explain the envisioned approach, and also how
LegitScript's monitoring program works.

Basically, the general philosophy is that anything that's currently okay in
the offline world is going to be permitted online as well. It's not
intended to be more or less restrictive, but just to reflect what's already
required as per existing healthcare-related regulations. Obviously, it
depends on the product in question: prescription drugs tend to have
stricter requirements than supplements, for example, in most countries.

What's restricted or permitted also varies by country or local
jurisdiction. One important point is that it's not US-centric, as one
poster seemed to think could be the case. If the website is offering
products to Japan, for example, then they have to adhere to whatever
Japanese laws and regulations apply to the sale of those products. If they
are selling to resident of India, then they have to follow those laws and
regulations. But unless they are shipping drugs or other regulated products
to the US, they wouldn't be bound by US laws and regulations. (If a
healthcare product merchant is legal in three jurisdictions but shipping to
five jurisdictions, then there is a really easy answer: stop shipping to
the two jurisdictions where you aren't operating legally.) That's no
different than what's required in the offline world as well, e.g., for a
brick-and-mortar pharmacy. On our end, we already monitor healthcare
merchants in multiple jurisdictions around the world (China, Korea, Japan,
Ireland, France, Germany, Indonesia, Thailand, Canada...the list goes on),
applying the laws and regulations that are appropriate to each
circumstance, so we see it as pretty straightforward. Obviously, it would
be not only impractical, but also unfair, to require a healthcare merchant
in Sweden legally selling to Scandinavian jurisdictions to comply with US
laws and regulations (in fact, it would be impossible).

Unfortunately, the online healthcare space is one that does benefit from
some monitoring -- there have been multiple deaths and adverse events from
fake drugs, tainted supplements, that sort of thing. So, both of those TLDs
are intended to be a safe space where Internet users can know that the
seller is operating in accordance with the laws and regulations that they
are supposed to, just by looking at the TLD. That seems to us to be a good
thing. But, the Internet is a global space, and it's definitely not
US-centric or based on any one countries' laws and regulations -- rather,
it's jurisdictionally flexible based on the circumstance in question.

Hope that helps to clarify.

John Horton
President, LegitScript

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