Prescription for Trouble: the Problem With Online Pharmacies


Checks and Balances

Washington, D.C. pharmacist David Toth detailed the steps he has to take to fill a prescription in his brick-and-mortar pharmacy, telling ABC News he can't accept prescriptions that are phoned or faxed in, but needs to see the original form from a customer's physician.

Toth also raises a concern about the quality of the medications the online pharmacies dispense.

"Are they dispensing American medication? Foreign medication? Are they being inspected?" he asked. "We are inspected. We are watched very carefully…I don't know what type of checks and balances they have in the Internet pharmacies."

Sens. Dianne Feinsten, D-Calif., and Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., have proposed legislation in memory of Ryan Haight that would limit online sales of controlled substances.

Among other goals, the Online Pharmacy Consumer Protection Act of 2007 aims to change laws to require a valid prescription for online transactions, with the validity of the prescription hinging upon the requirement that a doctor personally examine the patient.

The bill would also call for stiffer penalties for illegal distribution of the controlled substances and clarify to the pharmacies how regulations apply to them.

The bill is currently being reviewed by the Senate Judiciary Committee.

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