Drugs On The Internet 

Drugs On The Internet 
Posted by FoM on January 10, 2000 at 13:40:15 PT
A Boston Globe Editorial
Source: Boston Globe
The freedom of the Internet provides an opening for the uncontrolled sale of prescription drugs. The US Food and Drug Administration wants to put a stop to that but should make sure that new regulations do not impede the work of legitimate Internet pharmacies or discourage innovative uses of the Internet in medical care.So far the FDA is doing just that. It wants Congress to increase the fine for illegal transactions, now $1,000, to $500,000 - a sensible idea to underline the seriousness of the offense. 
It is encouraging states to take action on one of the most egregious Internet scams - a yes-or-no questionnaire that supposedly mimics a face-to-face medical examination. Once the patient passes the test, he or she is free to buy the offered drug.Before adopting a comprehensive policy against fake exams, the FDA wants the American Medical Association and the Federation of State Medical Boards to set a standard to be followed by all the states. The FDA does not want to impede the spread of telemedicine, in which a specialist uses the Internet to consult with a patient with the prior approval of the patient's physician.The FDA also wants federal legislation to compel Internet pharmacies to be licensed in the states where their Web sites are located. They would then display a seal of approval. The FDA already has information about Internet drugs available on its Web site at and will provide updates about new regulations. Although government can act against Internet pharmacies in the United States, it can do little about those located abroad. Customs inspectors will flag for FDA inspection any prescription drugs they happen to find, but one foreign Web site offers to send a free replacement if the FDA confiscates the first one.Potential customers need to realize, however, that there is no guarantee that foreign products will be as pure or consistent as those produced in this country. That high quality is protected by the FDA. If consumers study its Web site and get prior approval from their own doctors before seeking medicine on line, they will be well served by the freedom of this new technology.Published: January 10, 2000 Page A16 Copyright 2000 Globe Newspaper Company. Related Article:Online Sales Spur Illegal Importing of Medicine - 1/10/2000
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