United States of America — A new initiative to protect consumers from the illegal sale of pharmaceuticals over the Internet has been proposed by the President of the USA. The initiative will include new Federal requirements for all Internet pharmacies to ensure that they comply with state and federal laws. It strengthens the current penalty structure for illegal pharmaceutical sales over the Internet by proposing a new civil penalty of US$ 500 000 for each violation of the sale of a prescription drug to an individual without a valid prescription. Two other major components strengthen the investigative processes and administrative subpoena authority of the Food and Drug Administration.
A new public education campaign on the potential dangers of buying prescription drugs on-line will be launched. In the opinion of the initiative, fly-by-night pharmacies put on-line consumers at increased risk for adverse reactions, dangerous drug interactions or contaminated drugs. The proposal will enable consumers to identify legitimate Internet pharmacy sites. In turn, sites will have to demonstrate their compliance with Federal and State law before they receive approval from the Food and Drug Administration to operate.
Reference: The White House, Office of the Press Secretary, 28 December 1999.