Florida, Washington State Sue Online Pharmacy and Physician Over Online Cipro Sales
The attorneys general of Florida and Washington state are suing an online pharmacy and a Florida physician who allegedly worked together to dispense the anthrax treatment Cipro over the Internet "without examining or consulting" patients, the New York Times reports. The suits were filed after investigators from the office of Washington Attorney General Christine Gregoire (D) looked into the practices of the Florida-based Web site Aprescribe.com, which sells Cipro and other prescription drugs. Aprescribe.com does not require customers to submit a prescription for Cipro, although customers are asked to list any current or past medical problems and surgeries. Patients are also required to verify a series of statements, including an acknowledgement that they are "fully informed and understan[d] the risks, benefits and possible side effects of the prescription drugs" ordered. However, the Times reports that the Web site does not provide information about the risks and side effects of Cipro.
The lawsuits state that Florida physician Dr. Serge Alexandre allegedly worked with Aprescribe.com, reviewing customers' medical information and writing a prescription for the drug ordered without examining or consulting the patient. The suits allege that these practices violate Washington's Unfair Business Practices Act and Florida's Unfair Trade Practices Act, and that Aprescribe.com and the other defendants in the cases are "not properly registered to do business as a pharmacy" in the two states. "We can't allow anyone to violate our laws and threaten people's health in order to profit from the fear of bioterrorism," Gregoire said, adding that improper use of antibiotics can render the medicines ineffective or pose a threat to a patient's health. The lawsuits seek to stop the Cipro sales and obtain fines and restitution for customers. Cheryl Reid, a spokesperson for Gregoire's office, said that investigations of other pharmacy Web sites are ongoing (Lewin, New York Times, 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.