ONLINE Rx "ROGUES" DRAW FIRE FROM DRUGSTORE CHAINS

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Chain drugstore industry leaders called on Congress to enact new legislation to stamp out "rogue Internet drug sellers" who have been marketing dangerous and often counterfeit prescription medicines online.

In comments to the Senate Judiciary Committee, the National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) expressed concern about the dangers posed by these Web sites, arguing that "illegal Internet operations that threaten our drug supply and patient safety must be closed down."

At the same time, however, the NACDS cautioned lawmakers against imposing broad-brush restrictions on Internet pharmacy operations, warning that poorly crafted legislation could unnecessarily limit the public?s access to legitimate online pharmacy services.

"We believe that the most effective way to guard against these rogue Internet sites is to enact narrowly tailored solutions that focus resources on shutting down these illegal suppliers, rather than developing broad policies that sweep up legitimate, state-licensed pharmacies into a federal regulatory scheme that could potentially limit consumer access to state-licensed pharmacies through the Internet," said the NACDS.

Some legislation already being considered on Capitol Hill would require Internet pharmacies to disclose certain information about licenses, pharmacists, and other aspects of the business - requirements that the chain drugstore group said "would be duplicative and burdensome for a legitimate pharmacy since this information is already required by state boards of pharmacy."