Pharmacy Times

Internet Rx Crackdown Should Exempt Community Pharmacies

Author: Ken Rankin

With Congress eyeing new legislation to rein in illegal Internet pharmacies, chain drug store industry lobbyists called on lawmakers to make sure that legitimate community pharmacies are not subject to restrictions designed for "rogue" dispensaries that sell drugs on-line without a prescription.

Traditional pharmacies that have "an Internet presence designed to help customers renew prescriptions or buy products more easily must be clearly distinguished from unlicensed Internet-only pharmacies that facilitate the ordering and dispensing of prescription medications without a valid patient?provider relationship," National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) officials said.

Whereas the government "must act aggressively against illegal Internet pharmacies,?any new federal law or regulations developed to target this problem should not inadvertently target brick-and-mortar community pharmacies that are already licensed by state regulatory authorities," the chain drug group officials told the House Government Reform Committee.

NACDS' statement urged Congress to recognize the value of an existing verification program for on-line pharmacies, such as the Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites program sponsored by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy. Participating in such verification programs "can provide confidence to consumers about the credibility and reliability of an Internet site," according to NACDS.