ON-LINE PHARMACIES: Industry Group to Establish Standards
The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy plans to issue "seals of approval" to properly licensed on-line pharmacies beginning this spring. A list of Internet pharmacies that meet the board's standards will also be posted on the association's Web site. The group will work with the FDA and state medical boards to develop the standards. The move comes amid growing concerns about the burgeoning industry. Michael Friedman, deputy FDA commissioner for operations, "says the agency has neither the staff nor the authority to deal fully with on-line prescribing and sales." Cynthia Culmo of the Texas Health Department said many "on-line pharmacies are trying to circumvent the need for prescriptions by calling themselves wholesalers, but they're illegally selling the drugs directly to consumers." Friedman added that on-line pharmacies have been investigated in New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Texas and Wisconsin. Noting that about 40 states already require licensing for all pharmacies, Carmen Catizone, executive director of the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy, said, "We want to send a clear message to the public" (Rubin, USA Today, 2/9).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.