ONLINE PHARMACIES: FTC Cracks Down on Trade Practices
Several online pharmacies have agreed to halt certain business practices to settle accusations by the FTC that they charged customers unfairly and made false statements about their facilities, the AP/Los Angeles Times reports. As part of a crackdown on Web sites that offer Viagra and other sexual dysfunction drugs, the FTC has charged several online pharmacy sites with falsely claiming to run "full service clinics" with "full time staff," including doctors who "network with an organization of physicians throughout the United States and internationally." An FTC investigation found that the sites' "network of physicians" consisted of a single doctor in a distant state and none of the sites actually had onsite pharmacies. Consumers ordering Viagra were asked questions about their medical history and subsequently charged $75 for the "medical consultation." Those requests were then faxed to a doctor, who would receive a $10 payment only if the request was approved. The FTC also alleged the companies illegally billed 11,000 customers $50 each for "Y2K remediation." Under the agreement with the FTC, the online pharmacies are required to stop all current trade practices and prohibited from sharing customers' personal information (Hopper, 7/12).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.