NACDS aligns with Congress to quash rogue Internet pharmacies

7/21/2008

WASHINGTON —Efforts in Congress to target the illegal sale and abuse of pharmaceuticals online have drawn strong support from the National Association of Chain Drug Stores. But the group urged caution as lawmakers eye tougher regulations against rogue Internet pharmacies.

Taking point on the issue is the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Intellectual Property. Responding to growing alarm over the online sale of powerful and potentially dangerous prescription medicines without supervision or oversight by doctors or dispensing pharmacists, the subcommittee held a hearing June 24 titled, “Online Pharmacies and the Problem of Internet Drug Abuse.”

In written testimony, NACDS praised the House panel for its effort to combat the problem and pledged the support of its roughly 200 chain and 1,000 supplier company members. “We commend you [for] holding this important hearing on online pharmacies and the problem of Internet drug abuse,” NACDS stated. “These rogue Internet sites, both domestic and foreign, are engaged in a pattern of illegal activity regarding the prescribing and dispensing of prescription medications. They are in violation of state and federal laws governing the legitimate prescribing and dispensing of controlled substances.”

The group pledged “to work with Congress to eliminate these illegal Internet suppliers from the market and protect patient health.”

However, NACDS expressed a need for caution as lawmakers consider new and tougher regulations to control rogue sites. The group urged Congress “to develop a uniform regulatory approach that targets illegal, rogue sites without overburdening legitimate, state-licensed pharmacies that have Internet sites.”

In line with that approach, NACDS beseeched the panel “to develop policies that narrowly target illegal Internet drug sellers, rather than creating duplicative regulations and unnecessary administrative burdens on state-licensed brick-and-mortar pharmacies with Internet sites.

“We believe that rogue Internet sites can be effectively targeted without granting new authority to federal agencies to regulate the practice of pharmacy, which has traditionally been the authority of the states,” the group noted.

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