E-PHARMACY: Proposed Regulations ‘Risky Medicine’
In a column in today's Washington Times, Cato Institute Regulatory Studies Director Edward Hudgins writes that the Clinton administration's recent proposal to regulate online pharmacies is a "far-reaching assault [on e-commerce] freedom." Hudgins argues that the proposal -- requiring all online prescription sites be licensed by the FDA -- is an attempt to "preserve a failing regulatory system that is being undermined by the Internet." He also maintains that the new measure is the administration's "effort to foist Clinton [health] care on the public by the installment plan." Instead of government regulation, which Hudgins maintains "adds billions of dollars to the costs of drugs" and delays the availability of needed medication, "[h]onest" Internet proprietors can "formulate effective, private consumer protections guidelines and procedures" -- posting a product seal of approval on their Web sites. Through competition, he contends Internet sales can hold down the price of medicine the way "Amazon.com helps hold down the price of books." Claiming that the Clinton administration's site registration proposal is "clever," Hudgins says the measure would "begin massive regulation of e-commerce, provide a model for preserving regulatory agencies from the Internet threat and help socialize health care in the bargain," concluding that " ... the plan should be rejected" (1/12).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.