House Committee Addresses National Standards for Internet Pharmacies
The House Committee on Government Reform on Thursday held a hearing on a bill (HR 3880) that would revise the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act of 1938 to develop a "national standard for valid prescriptions for sales over the Internet" and require Internet pharmacies to provide information about the licenses and physical locations of their pharmacists, Bloomberg/Boston Globe reports (Bloomberg/Boston Globe, 3/19). The bill also would ban prescription drug sales without an in-person doctor consultation and a prescription and would require Web sites that advertise prescription drugs to identify their place of business and affiliated doctors or pharmacists (California Healthline, 3/2). Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), ranking member of the committee and co-sponsor of the bill, said the bill would make it easier for FDA and state officials to regulate Internet pharmacies. Waxman said, "Enforcement efforts are complicated: A Web site operator can be in one state, the pharmacy in a second state" and the prescribing doctor in a third state, adding, "This may bring three different state standards into play" (Bloomberg/Boston Globe, 3/19). Committee Chair Tom Davis (R-Va.), co-sponsor of the bill, "stressed" that it does not address reimportation of lower-cost, U.S.-made prescription drugs from foreign countries, CongressDaily reports. FDA and the American Medical Association have not yet taken a position on the bill, but the National Association of Attorneys General endorsed it (CongressDaily, 3/18). Internet pharmacy Drugstore.com said it supports the legislation (Bloomberg/Boston Globe, 3/19).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.