Florida Pharmacy Board Proposes Rule to Reduce Online Prescription Drug Sales Without an Examination
The Florida Board of Pharmacy introduced a rule on Tuesday that would require online pharmacies to verify that physicians had physically examined patients before writing prescriptions for them, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports. Pharmacists who filled prescriptions without verifying that an examination had taken place could be fined or have their licenses revoked. The proposed rule, which the board will vote on in August, is intended to clarify the board's opposition to the "common" practice employed by online pharmacies of prescribing drugs for patients who simply fill out an electronic questionnaire. The rule is similar to restrictions put in place by the state's medical board and board for osteopathic physicians. The board for osteopaths last year prohibited physicians from issuing prescriptions without an examination; the medical board verbally condemned the practice last year and currently is formulating a rule that would officially ban the practice. The action by the pharmacy board also follows the state's move last week to suspend the license of RxNetwork, a pharmacy that fills prescriptions for several online drugstores where patients can obtain prescriptions without a physical examination. RxNetwork challenged the suspension on the grounds that no rule currently requires pharmacists to verify that a physical examination has taken place. The proposed rule may be difficult to enforce because it would require the state to prove that the pharmacist either knew that a physician had not conducted a physical exam or should have been "suspicious" and tried to verify the exam (LaMendola, South Florida Sun-Sentinel, 6/12). For more iHealth & Technology stories, visit iHealthBeat.org, a new Web publication sponsored by the California HealthCare Foundation.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.