Wall Street Journal Examines Problems in Regulation of Online Pharmacies
The Wall Street Journal today examines problems in the regulation of online pharmacies and efforts to shut down Internet pharmacies that fill prescriptions based on online consultations. State prosecutors and medical boards nationwide maintain that many online pharmacies are unsafe and violate accepted medical practices. "Offering overpriced prescription drugs with nothing more than a click of the mouse to acknowledge a liability waiver and a brief questionnaire is wrong and unethical," Richard Corlin, president of the American Medical Association, said, adding, "Such a violation of the standards of quality medical care is a public health threat, and tarnishes the Internet's potential as a useful tool for physicians and patients." However, efforts to "clamp down" on online pharmacies "have been hampered ... by the fact that there's no consensus in the legal community on what to do about such companies," the Journal reports. States, with the exception of a few such as Kentucky and Oklahoma, do not have laws to prohibit the prescription of treatments online. In addition, differences between state laws on physician and pharmacist licensure requirements allow online pharmacies to continue to operate after a state has suspended the license of the physicians or pharmacists employed by the Web site (Angwin, Wall Street Journal, 12/9).
In related news, the Miami Herald yesterday examined the legal debate over proposed rules in Florida that would require online pharmacies to verify that they base the prescriptions they fill on a physical examination by a physician (Dorschner, Miami Herald, 12/8).
For more iHealth & Technology stories, visit iHealthBeat, a new Web publication sponsored by the California HealthCare Foundation.