ONLINE Rx REGULATION: FDA, States Divided Over Approach
State and federal officials testifying before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee yesterday urged Congress to take action to regulate the online sale of prescription medications, but they disagreed on exactly what those measures should entail, CongressDaily reports. FDA Commissioner Jane Henney told the committee that the administration's proposed plan would be in legislative form "in a few weeks." Under that plan, states would continue to regulate medical and pharmacy practices, but the federal government would impose new regulations on Internet sites that sell prescription drugs. The federal regulations would require Internet sites to provide ownership, licensing, managerial and contact information. The FDA would require an additional $10 million in appropriations this year to increase enforcement efforts against Web sites that sell illegal products, Henney said. She added that if Congress does not act soon, online sales of illegal drugs "will become an increasingly serious problem."
And the States Say ...
State officials also testified yesterday, agreeing that congressional action is warranted -- but not necessarily the plan supported by the FDA. Kansas Attorney General Carla Stovall (R) said that states should be given the authority to "pursue national injunctions against rogue Internet drug sellers similar to authority granted for illegal telemarketing schemes." She did back the disclosure requirements proposed by the FDA. Carmen Catizone of the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy asked Congress for its "support for the authority of the states to regulate the practice of pharmacy." She requested additional "human and technological resources necessary to provide a safe environment on the Internet where American consumers may confidently use Internet pharmacies for their health care needs" (Rovner/Fulton, CongressDaily, 3/21).