September 30, 2008
NCPA Statement Supporting H.R. 6353
To: TECHNOLOGY EDITORS
ALEXANDRIA, Va.,Sept. 30/PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Ryan Haight Online Pharmacy Consumer Protection Act of 2008. In response, Stephen L. Giroux, R.Ph., National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) President and an upstate New York pharmacy owner, issued the following statement:
"Rogue online drug operators should no longer go unregulated. This legislation to clamp down on illegal online operators is the first step in the right direction and I urge theU.S.Senate to address this critical issue before leaving town this week.
"There are just some services that should not be available online. Unregulated online drug operators have been found to cause harm and even death in some cases. A recent NCPA/NACDS study conducted by Accenture, as well as the EuropeanAlliancefor Access to Safe Medicines also found this to be true. Further evidence of the magnitude of the problem was demonstrated in a Congressional testimony by GoDaddy.com, a leading online registrant, which revealed they have had to suspend 6,000 of these rogue sites this year as a result of their practices. The safety of every American is at risk if these illegal online operators are allowed to continue."
The bill, introduced in the House in June by Representative Bart Stupak (D-Mi), is aimed at controlled substances and 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. It would exempt remote-site pharmacies that operate under approved "telemedicine" procedures.
The bill now moves to the Senate, where passage could be accomplished in short order, since the Senate passed a version of the same bill in April.
"Patient safety is the primary concern of independent pharmacists. We work closely with doctors, patients and reputable, licensed wholesalers to provide quality prescription care. Counterfeit drugs are driven almost entirely by unlicensed, rogue internet web sites. Some 68% of medication purchased online are fake or sub-standard and 95.6% of internet pharmacy sites are operating illegally." European Alliance for Access to Safe Medicines, The Counterfeiting Superhighway, June 2008. The full report is available at www.eaasm.eu.
The National Community Pharmacists Association, founded in 1898, represents the nation's community pharmacists, including the owners of more than 23,000 pharmacies. The nation's independent pharmacies, independent pharmacy franchises, and independent chains dispense nearly half of the nation's retail prescription medicines. To learn more go to www.ncpanet.org.
SOURCE National Community Pharmacists Association
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