Magazine article Medical Economics

Are Doctors Who Affiliate with Internet Pharmacies Asking for Trouble?

Magazine article Medical Economics

Are Doctors Who Affiliate with Internet Pharmacies Asking for Trouble?

Article excerpt

With hundreds of Internet sites willing to provide patients with prescription medications, online pharmacies and their physicians are drawing more and more attention from state regulators. Pennsylvania, for example, recently filed three lawsuits charging online companies, pharmacies, and physicians with violating state law by selling prescription drugs (Viagra, Propecia, and Xenical) without a state license.

From December 1999 through January 2000, Bureau of Consumer Protection agents (two men, a woman, and a 15-year-old girl who assisted in the investigation) made undercover online purchases of the popular prescription drugs. Posing as consumers, the investigators were able to buy the drugs by agreeing to a waiver of liability and claiming to answer limited medical-history questions truthfully Some of the questions included already-marked answers that required no consumer response at all.

In addition to the unlicensed sale of those drugs, the lawsuits accuse the pharmacies or their affiliated physicians of:

Not confirming consumers' identities, ages, or medical histories, and not providing doctors' examinations.

(Failure to disclose that they're not permitted to dispense prescription drugs in Pennsylvania.

Selling and prescribing drugs to Pennsylvanians who had not been seen, examined, or spoken with by the issuing physician.

(Requiring consumers to accept, in advance, a "waiver of liability" releasing the defendants from all responsibility associated with their drug purchases. …

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