Probing Dangerous Web of Drugs! 

  Probing Dangerous Web of Drugs! 

Posted by FoM on December 30, 1998 at 08:19:43 PT
How will they police the Internet? 

With a few computer keystrokes — and without ever seeing a doctor — Americans can buy powerful prescription drugs including some not approved for sale in this country.
Supporters say consumers are savvy enough to buy medicines over the Internet. But health experts fear the growing trend could endanger, even kill, patients. The DEA and several states are looking into Web sites that sell prescription drugs over the Internet. Several states are investigating Web sites, and the Drug Enforcement Administration has raided at least one Internet doctor as the government struggles with how to control drugs in cyberspace both here and abroad."Consumers are taking a huge risk. ... They may be risking their lives," warns William Hubbard of the Food and Drug Administration. "We're very concerned about this."Yet some state regulators say they've never heard of the myriad Web sites that post such ads as: "Need Viagra? No prescription? No problem!"Colorado publicly reprimanded one doctor for selling Viagra over the Internet; Connecticut, Wyoming and Nevada ordered one Web site to stop selling in those states, and at least eight other states are investigating complaints.North Carolina is probing Web sales of a computer program that teaches patients to diagnose their own problems and then pick a medication from foreign Web sites."Get self-prescribed medications without a doctor's prescription" including "experimental ... or unapproved drugs not yet available in the U.S.," the site promises. Patient testimonials declare success at buying controlled substances such as narcotic painkillers."It's a do-it-yourself doc-in-a-box," complained Dave Work of North Carolina's Board of Pharmacy.The government determines which drugs need prescriptions — because they're for serious medical problems and can cause serious side effects.Yet U.S. Web sites tout: Viagra, highly risky for certain men; Valtrex, which treats genital herpes but can kill patients with weak immune systems; Meridia, a diet drug that requires doctor monitoring because it can raise blood pressure, and the diet drug phentermine, a controlled substance considered too dangerous for whole groups.Spotted on foreign sites: stimulants, tranquilizers, antidepressants, antibiotics and drugs for epilepsy, dementia, diabetes and hypertension.The Internet is making huge inroads in medicine, as doctors e-mail patients, online pharmacies mail refills and patients turn to medical journals now available 24 hours a day.But it also has opened a Pandora's box: Almost anyone can set up shop as an expert."'I'm not a doctor, but I'm playing one on the Internet' is probably our worst nightmare," said Mark Herr of New Jersey's Division of Consumer Affairs.Foreign drug sellers who don't need prescriptions in their own country can target Americans. And U.S. doctors and pharmacists, too, are selling to unseen Internet users across the country.It is illegal for doctors to prescribe for patients in a state where they're not licensed to practice. Licensed doctors also must meet standards of care that in most states require a patient relationship to prescribe drugs. But the rules were written before the Internet, so states aren't sure how to apply them in cyberspace — and how to police ever-changing Web sites.The FDA is about to meet with state regulators to discuss ways to address the trend nationally, instead of each state grappling on its own.The DEA also can intervene when controlled substances are sold, and last year it raided the office of a Maryland doctor well known for prescribing diet drugs over the Internet. The DEA still is investigating, but the state last week suspended the doctor's license on unrelated charges.Their losing control of the masses and they don't know how to handle it!

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Comment #1 posted by afraid 2 use it on June 14, 1999 at 00:12:13 PT

BS for sure

The real reason doctor's and rx suppliers are concerned about the internet supplying drugs to the masses on the web , has little to do with saftey and lots to do with concern about their private club to make big bucks. That's why they restrict the number of Drs. It's a big racket ,with both doctors and drug companies reaping the benefits. Not only that but the DEA has got the drs. so scared of losing their license because the happen to want to give a pain drug to one of their patients that the patient is FORCED to go outside the legal boundries to relieve their suffering. Just look at the mmj issue. It's just another excuse to have the USA mind peoples bussiness on the net and in foreign countries. I am USA citizen , but I'm embarresed by my govt. constant threat to the rest of the world's attempt to live their own lives as THEY see fit to do it without our interferrence. I'm sure they would be better off , I mean ,isn't it enough that they have us in an orwellian world already here at home with their war on drugs. 
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