Online Prescriptions Are Becoming A Public Health Threat

Purchasing prescription drugs over the internet without a valid prescription is shockingly simple. An internet connection, a credit card and basic Google skills are all you need to have prescription drugs delivered to your front door.

The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) issued a rare “public health alert” on July 28, 2011. Based on a recent study the NABP found that 96 percent of 8,000 rogue websites analyzed continue to operate out of compliance with U.S. pharmacy laws. In their alert the NABP warned: “The fake online pharmacy crisis has reached an epidemic level, they prey on prescription drug abusers, and the most vulnerable members of society…” Most of these sites will sell prescription drugs without a valid prescription. The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CAPA) at Colombia University in 2006 found that 9 out of 10 websites selling prescription drugs do not require a prescription.

According to research conducted by the Partnership for a Drugfree.org found that 1 in 6 Americans purchase prescription drugs via the internet without a valid prescription. They also found that from 2000 to 2007 states with the fastest growth of Internet access also had the largest jump in hospital admissions for treatment of prescription drug abuse. The Journal of Health Affairs in May 2011 suggested that the growth of high speed internet access has fueled prescription drug abuse.

The sale of prescription drugs over the internet is extremely lucrative (see my blog of Jan. 18, 2007) and is fueled by the unholy trio of website operators (frequently overseas), the pharmacists, and online prescribing physicians. The physicians who issue prescriptions based on online questionnaires without ever seeing the patient are the most reprehensible. The Ryan Haight Online Pharmacy Consumer Protection Act makes it a felony to prescribe controlled substances over the internet without a valid prescription. However, even the sale of non controlled prescriptions drugs without a valid prescription -patient having a physical examination by a physician- is also a felony (see my blog of December 15, 2011). Late last year Senators Feinstein and Sessions introduced the Online Pharmacy Safety Act of 2011 which makes it a felony to prescribe non controlled prescription drugs without a valid prescription.

If you or a family member have been injured or died as a result of a prescription drug obtained over the internet, you can and should fight back. Medical malpractice and product liability lawsuits against internet pharmacies, pharmacists, and physicians who prescribe without a valid physician-patient relationship are an effective way to secure not only compensation for your losses but also to put a halt to this growing public health threat. Should you wish to discuss your situation further, feel free to contact Edmund Scanlan toll free at 877-494-1309.