ONLINE PHARMACIES: Texas Sues Two Companies Over Prescription Practices
Alleging violations of the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act, state Attorney General John Cornyn (R) this week sued two out-of- state online pharmacies for selling drugs without prescriptions, the Austin American-Statesman reports. According to the lawsuit, a state investigator was able to obtain Viagra from both sites after completing an "online consultation," consisting of questions about her medical history. The companies named in the lawsuit are West Virginia-based Norfolk Pharmacy Inc. and Virginia-based OSI Medical Services. While both companies are licensed to dispense prescriptions by the Texas State Board of Pharmacy, Cornyn is seeking an injunction to force them to stop. Both companies offer prescription drugs such as Viagra and Xenical on Web sites such as MedPrescribe.com and SafeWebMedical.com. Cornyn said, "Both of these online pharmacies mislead consumers in suggesting to them that all that is needed to protect their safety....is to go through a medical checklist." Before filling orders, most online pharmacies require a prescription from a doctor. The state Board of Pharmacy has joined the Texas Board of Medical Examiners in supporting the lawsuit, arguing that an "in-person consultation" with a doctor should be required prior to receiving a prescription. Bruce Levy, executive director of the medical board, said, "Cyberspace should not be a mecca in which activities (happen) you would not allow in physical space." Arizona, Illinois, Missouri, New Jersey and Kansas have taken similar action against online pharmacies, and on Monday, the FDA charged four people in Alabama and a Florida drug wholesaler with illegally selling prescriptions online (Park, 8/10).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.