Bush signs ‘rogue’ online Rx bill

ALEXANDRIA, Va. The National Association of Chain Drug Stores is hailing Pres. Bush’s signature of a bill to crack down on rogue online pharmacies.

Enactment of the bill, known as the Ryan Haight Online Pharmacy Consumer Protection Act, or H.R. 6353, completes a “trifecta” of victories in Congress on legislation considered a priority for retail pharmacy advocates, NACDS noted today.

The bill will clamp down on the illegal sale, abuse and trafficking of prescription drugs over the Internet.

It would require a valid prescription for the purchase or distribution of any prescription drug over the Internet, issued by a prescribing physician or other qualified professional who has personally examined the patient. However, the bill exempts remote-site pharmacies that operate under approved “tele-medicine” procedures.

“Illegal online ‘pharmacies’ encourage prescription drug abuse and prey on individuals by offering medications without a valid prescription,” noted NACDS president and chief executive officer Steven Anderson. “These ‘rogue’ websites threaten the health of consumers and tarnish the reputation of legitimate online commerce. The Ryan Haight Online Pharmacy Consumer Protection Act provides for tough penalties and stronger enforcement against these scofflaws.

“NACDS members operate legitimate, state-licensed pharmacies, many of which have an associated and branded Internet website that offers customers the convenience of contacting their pharmacy via the Internet for medication and health care needs,” Anderson added. “H.R. 6353 recognizes these legitimate operations and would not interfere with the important services and products that our members offer online.

“We applaud Congress and President Bush for taking action to stop these dangerous rogue websites and protect the safety of consumers.”

In recent days, Bush also signed the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2009, which includes an important provision to preserve pharmacy choice for military members and their families enrolled in the TRICARE health program. The White House also approved the Methamphetamine Production Prevention Act, toughening controls over the illegal methamphetamines with new electronic logbook procedures to provide law enforcement with easier access to information and streamlining recordkeeping requirements for pharmacies.  

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