Online Pharmacy Act: Law on Pharms Changes!

By fiveleggedrat · Oct 11, 2008 · Updated Oct 15, 2008 · ·
  1. fiveleggedrat
    Congress Passes Ryan Haight Online Pharmacy Consumer Protection Act. Bill now awaits Presidential signature.
    Ryan Haight died of an overdose of prescription drugs in 2001.

    WASHINGTON) –DEA Acting Administrator Michele M. Leonhart today hailed Congressional passage of the Ryan Haight Online Pharmacy Consumer Protection Act of 2007, which addresses the problems of online prescription drug trafficking, abuse, and availability.

    “Cyber-criminals illegally peddling controlled substances over the Internet have invaded households and threatened America’s youth for far too long by supplying pharmaceuticals with a few clicks of a mouse and a credit card number,” Acting Administrator Leonhart said. “This landmark piece of legislation will bring rogue pharmacy operators out of the shadows by establishing a clear standard for legitimate online pharmaceutical sales. The legislation will allow customers to know they are doing business with a trusted, legitimate pharmacy, and give law enforcement the tools we need to identify illegitimate online pharmacies."
    This legislation amends the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) in the following key respects:

    1. Face-to-face requirement for prescribing: The Act prohibits dispensing controlled substances via the Internet without a “valid prescription.” For a prescription to be valid, it must be issued for a legitimate medical purpose in the usual course of professional practice, meaning that, with limited exceptions, a doctor must conduct at least one in-person medical evaluation of the patient.
    This provision would address the primary harm caused by rogue Internet pharmacies: dispensing controlled substances on a large scale without a legitimate medical purpose. Rogue Internet pharmacies typically operate with active participation of an unscrupulous doctor who willingly issues prescriptions to “patients” throughout the country whom the doctor never sees and without a preexisting bona fide doctor-patient relationship.
    2. Endorsement requirement: The Act requires an endorsement from DEA before a pharmacy could dispense controlled substances via the Internet. This endorsement would supplement the existing registration a pharmacy holds for its brick-and-mortar operation, and allow law enforcement to clearly identify internet sites where controlled substances can be sold.
    Currently, domestic rogue Internet pharmacies are generally supplied by DEA-registered brick-and-mortar pharmacies. Typically, these brick-and-mortar pharmacies have little or no walk-in customers and do most or all of their business via rogue Internet sites. In some instances, criminal organizations find legitimate “mom and pop” brick-and-mortar pharmacies and purchase them, then use them for just a few months as a supplier to rogue Internet operations, then walk away from the pharmacy after taking in substantial cash.
    Rather than try to block all online pharmaceutical sales, the Ryan Haight Act will put online pharmaceutical sales on an equal regulatory footing with those sales through a brick-and-mortar facility. The act requires an endorsement of an existing registration to allow existing pharmacies to sell controlled substances online. This means law enforcement will be able to carefully scrutinize all applications for such registration and be able to easily separate legitimate and illegitimate Internet operations.

    3. Enhanced penalties for schedule III through V: The Ryan Haight Act will enhance penalties for unlawfully dispensing controlled substances in schedules III through V. These enhanced penalties would apply equally to all unlawful distributors and dispensers of controlled substances (not just those who do so by means of the Internet). Criminals are aware of the low penalties associated with Schedule III and Schedule IV substances, and generally refrain from selling schedule II substances. Hence, to provide a credible deterrent where illicit distribution is most prominent, the Act increases the statutory maximum penalties applicable to the illegal distribution of Schedule III and IV controlled substances as follows:

    * Schedule III: Maximum sentence for first offenders from 5 years to 10 years
    Maximum sentence for second offenders from 10 years to 20 years
    * Schedule IV: Maximum sentence for first offenders from 3 years to 5 years
    Maximum sentence for second offenders from 6 years to 10 years
    * Schedule V: Maximum sentence for second offenders from 2 years to 6 years

    These changes to maximum penalties apply to all illegal distributions, not just those occurring over the internet.

    4. Prohibition on advertising illegal sales: The Ryan Haight Act will make it a crime to use the Internet to advertise the illegal sale of a controlled substance by means of the Internet.

    5. Requirement that Internet pharmacies post certain information on their Web sites: The Ryan Haight Act will require online pharmacies to post truthful information about their location, identity, and licensure of the pharmacy, pharmacists and prescribers, and states in which they are authorized to practice pharmacy.
    This provision would assist law enforcement in investigating online pharmacies and should also provide some deterrent against noncompliance (by reminding online pharmacies of their legal duties).

    6. State Cause of Action: The Ryan Haight Act will give the Attorney General of each state the ability to bring a civil action in a federal district court to enjoin the actions of an online pharmacy or person which/who is operating in violation of this statute. To bring such an action, the state must have served prior written notice on the Attorney General of the United States, giving the Attorney General the opportunity to intervene in the litigation.
    This provision would help ensure that state and federal enforcement authorities can work in partnership with each other and that individual states are able to take effective enforcement action. Under current law, a state Attorney General’s enforcement authority against an online pharmacy is limited to the geographic boundaries of that state, which causes significant challenges when a case involves illegal activity over the Internet.

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  1. sterling77
    No, it means it may have some serious consequences in the near future, but not for sure because it hasn't passed yet. Let's hope it doesn't..
  2. Expat98
    ^^It has already been passed by Congress with bipartisan support. You can be sure that Bush will sign it into law very soon.
  3. sterling77
    Ok, sorry I understood that wrong. Hasn't this been around awhile? I think I remember hearing about this years ago.
  4. radiometer
    Very interesting. Brought to you by the same government agencies which have screamed "OXYCONTIN" to the media over and over ad nauseum, in the interest of scaremongering the public on this issue...
  5. fiveleggedrat
    Swim was surprised reading this mostly because of the change on penalties regarding sale of S2-5 pharms. Previously, selling pharms was not a big deal. Now, the penalties rival that of cocaine and heroin. This is a big deterrent to pharms, but as we all have learned, it only deters the most honest, "good" dealers. Now, pharms can get handled by the same thugs and murderers that handle crack and such. Great! Wonderful idea, government. Make it profitible only to the killers.

    No, this is all new, direct from DEA releases the day I posted it. I regularly visit DEA and gov websites. Good info there, usually new and releases that you can't find anywhere else.
  6. Alfa
    Please do not copy-paste articles from US government websites. It will cause members to get a intrusive tracking cookie. Everything is fixed now.
  7. fiveleggedrat
    I had no idea. My apologies on that. What is the proper way to get an article here, then? Really don't know.
  8. chillinwill
    I think just don't post the link to the government site will work. Great article though!
  9. Alfa
    If you copy-paste an article from another site and it has formatting in it (pics, icons, links, etc) then the article here will still have those elements, while they are hosted on the original site. So when someone looks at it here, these elements are actually accessed on the server of the original site. This also means that if that server uses malicious techniques like tracking cookies, this will be added as an extra 'goodie'. US government sites use such tactics.

    You can easily prevent this, by copy-pasting the article into notepad. Then copy it from there and paste it here. All formatting will be gone.
  10. fiveleggedrat
    Great, Swim'll do that next time and from now on. My knowledge on networking is seriously lacking.
  11. Panthers007
    Good article/news. Thanks for posting. Despite inviting Big Brother in for whiskey.
  12. El Calico Loco
    I wonder what they expect to accomplish? There are plenty of vendors in India and China that are willing to supply American demand. Local dealers will simply order from them, if they don't already.

  13. fiveleggedrat
    I'm certain that they intend to cut down on street sales. It is true that many people handling these previously due to low penalties will move onto moving things with less severe penalties. I personally find the penalties, as always, inconsistent. Swim also knows several pharm people moving to a new product after this.

    5-10 years for sale of S3 substances?! Isn't sale of heroin less penalized? I know cocaine is less.

    As many drug penalties go up, the hard criminals pick up the slack the smarter dealers behind. Swim knows plenty who left the hard drug trade for marijuana, only because of lighter penalties.
  14. Beeker
    Well ... at least people can still get their boner pills without worry.

    ... for now.
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