ALEXANDRIA , Va. The National Association of Chain Drug Stores named U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., a “Pharmacy Great Communicator” for his support of legislation to combat illegal Internet pharmacies, while protecting legitimate retail drug stores with online websites.
The NACDS recognized Leahy due to his taking retail pharmacy into account during Senate floor debate of S. 980, the Ryan Haight Online Pharmacy Consumer Protection Act. On April 1, Sen. Leahy discussed the need to address the problem of obtaining controlled substances via the Internet without unduly burdening pharmacies. The legislation passed last week in the Senate—with the inclusion of new reporting, posting, and registration requirements for pharmacies that seek to dispense controlled substances via the Internet.
The “Pharmacy Great Communicator” program was created to honor those who publicly highlight the value of community pharmacy. “We appreciated your support of combating rogue Internet pharmacies, while protecting ‘legitimate retail drug chains with online websites for customers seeking refills on prescriptions,’” said NACDS president and chief executive officer Steve Anderson in a letter to Leahy. “In addition, we appreciate your acknowledgment of the ‘check and security’ provided by our local pharmacists in local pharmacies—those who have served Americans for generations and helped us get well and keep us well—[which] is not always replicated online.”
NACDS has strongly urged members of Congress to take into account that consumer access to prescription medications through legitimate pharmacies must be protected, even while protecting patient safety by shutting down illegal Internet entities. In May 2007, NACDS submitted testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee, chaired by Leahy, iterating the patient safety implications of prescription medications sold through these rogue sites.
The legislation now proceeds to the House. NACDS will continue to work to gain the support of members of Congress to ensure protections for legitimate pharmacies.