ONLINE PHARMACIES: Bill Aims to Protect Online Consumers
Pharmacies selling prescription drugs online would be required to disclose their business location and contact information under a bill set to be unveiled today by a "bipartisan coalition of legislators," CongressDaily/A.M. reports. The measure would expand states' authority to prosecute violators in federal court and would allow the federal government to write disclosure regulations and "intervene in court." The bill is intended to protect online consumers from "counterfeit or contaminated" drugs and prevent the online sale of drugs without a prescription. The measure, which includes provisions based on a "broader" administration proposal, is sponsored by Reps. Ron Klink (D- Penn.), Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and Thomas Bliley (R-Va.). Some lawmakers were "surprised" that Bliley was backing the bill because he had criticized the Clinton proposal for "bringing federal regulation to the Internet." Bliley also warned that the administration plan could have "a crippling regulatory burden on e-commerce industries." But, a spokesperson for the House Commerce Committee, which Bliley chairs, said Bliley supports the "targeted federal regulations relating to disclosure on Web sites and to state authorities contained in the new bill." Unlike the Clinton plan, the new proposal does not include civil penalties or grant subpoena authority to the Justice Department. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pension Committee Chair James Jeffords (R-Vt.) and ranking member Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) are sponsoring the measure in the Senate (Fulton, CongressDaily/A.M., 10/17).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.