In a fresh initiative designed to reduce the threat posed by counterfeit prescription drugs, officials at the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) announced plans to establish a new program that will accredit wholesale drug distributors who supply US pharmacies.

NABP's new "Verified-Accredited Wholesale Distributors (VAWD)" program is designed to assure pharmacies and others concerned about counterfeit drugs "that wholesalers are legitimate, qualified for state licensure, and employing security and best practices for safely distributing prescription drugs and medical devices from manufacturer to pharmacy," officials from the association said.

Wholesalers seeking VAWD accreditation will undergo a criteria compliance review, licensure verification process, an inspection, and screening. BuzzeoPDMA, a consulting firm that specializes in compliance with federal drug regulations, will perform inspections of distributors for NABP.

NABP, which operates a similar accreditation system for Internet pharmacies, expects to launch the new drug distributor verification program in December 2004.