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Pharmacy groups face antitrust battle for consumer campaign

Recent court ruling leads to warning from attorneys that associations should be mindful when bringing various competitors together

May 14, 2021
By Walt Williams

An effort by associations to warn consumers against using certain online pharmacies has landed them in court, with a federal judge recently ruling that an antitrust lawsuit brought against the groups could move forward.

The company PharmacyChecker.com sued the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy, the Alliance for Safe Online Pharmacies and two other pharmacy industry consumer education programs in 2019 for publicly listing its website as a potentially unsafe site and for taking other actions to undermine its credibility. The company alleges these actions effectively amounted to a group boycott by pharmacy industry players, and that NABP itself violated federal law by steering competition to its affiliates.

PharmacyChecker’s lawsuit received a boost in March when U.S. District Judge Kenneth Karas threw out a motion by the defendants to have the case dismissed. The defendants are pledging to push forward, believing the courts will ultimately rule in their favor.