US Lawmakers Seek to Regulate Online Pharmacies

Earlier this week, the Ryan Haight Online Pharmacy Consumer Protection Act of 2008 was presented to the President for his signature.

The Ryan Haight Online Pharmacy Consumer Protection Act of 2008 is aimed at regulating the online pharmacies that have proliferated during the last five years. In particular, the Act would require each online pharmacy to do the following:

Two doctors standing in Pharmacy

  • Include a statement on its homepage that it complies with the requirements of the Ryan Haight Online Pharmacy Consumer Protection Act of 2008;
  • Post information on its homepage regarding its business and operations including its legal name, address, telephone number, the qualifications of its pharmacist-in-charge, and a certification of its registration under this Act ;
  • Comply with all controlling state laws regarding the licensure of pharmacies in each state in which it operates or sells controlled substances
  • Notify the Attorney General and applicable state boards of pharmacy at least 30 days prior to offering to sell, deliver, distribute, or dispense controlled substances over the Internet.

Most importantly, the Act would prohibit online pharmacies from filling any prescriptions unless they are “valid prescriptions.” A “valid prescription” is one that is issued for a legitimate medical purpose by a licensed practitioner who has conducted at least one in-person medical evaluation of the patient.

Finally, the Act creates additional penalties for online pharmacies that do not comply with the same and gives new authority to the attorney general.

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