December 27, 1999
Abstracted from a New York Times article
by Robert Pear
to Seek More Regulation
WASHINGTON -- President Clinton is spearheading an effort to strictly regulate internet drugstores. As more people click through the internet to get most of their necessities, the regulation of online transactions is getting more and more difficult. A good example of this abuse would be the increase of online drug stores and the number of people that purchase prescription drugs online. Reports say that many of these internet drugstores are not even qualified to operate as traditional drugstores because there is no federal certification required for online pharmacies. Clinton administration officials said today that the president would soon introduce legislation into Congress requiring online drugstores to get FDA approval to operate.
Dr. Jane E. Henney, the commissioner of food and drugs, stated that the proposal would raise the civil penalties of up to $500,000 for selling prescription drugs to an individual without a valid prescription or for operating without valid federal certification. Fines were usually limited to $1,000 for a violation and federal officials say that this makes prosecuting online pharmacies difficult. To get federal certification, online pharmacies would need licenses in states where they did their business as if they were traditional drugstores. For example, if an online pharmacy in New York sold prescription drugs in California, the pharmacy would need to comply with licensing requirements in both states, federal officials said.
One online pharmacy, PlanetRx.com prides itself on having proper certification. Dr. Matthew E. Naythons, vice president of one of the best-known online pharmacies, stated "We are licensed to dispense drugs in all 50 states," which proves that not all internet drugstores are fraudulent. Contrasting his company with some of it's competitors, Dr. Naythons said, "At PlantRx, we dispense medication. We don't prescribe it. We want to speak to your physician in every case, to verify your prescription, unless we get it through the mail." However, he also recognizes that other companies are not always so scrupulous.