Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Consumer Health Essays - Pharmaceuticals Policy, Online Pharmacy

Consumer Health Essays - Pharmaceuticals Policy, Online Pharmacy Consumer Health Is Consumer Health and Safety in Jeopardy With the implementation of Self-Prescription Drug Internet Sites? Amanda C. Feitner GUS 72-001: Urban Affairs-Consumers In the Marketplace: Your Legal Rights and Responsibilities. Prof. John E. Kelly, J.D. April 17, 2000 The expeditious augmentation of consumer product transactions taking place on the Internet have developed new risk for the public's health and safety, especially with the rise of online self-prescription drug sites. Online Pharmacies have been created to benefit the consumer but pose many risks for credulous purchasers, increased health fraud, and unique challenges to regulators, law enforcement, and policymakers. With these latest technological advancements, former regulations utilized by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) concerning the distribution of prescription and over the counter drugs have to some extent become obsolete. This has required that the FDA along with the combined efforts of other organizations such as the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), create new regulations to protect consumers. The evolution of online prescription Internet sites has brought several advantages to consumers, allowing individuals to attain ever-increasing amounts of knowledge to improve their understanding of health issues and treatment options. Last year alone more than 22 million Americans used the Internet to find medical information. According to Investor's Business Daily, 43% of web surfers access health care data online each year. Health concerns are the sixth most common reason people use the Internet, and according to the market research firm, Cyber Dialogue Inc., this number is growing 70 percent a year. The leading attractions to purchasing consumer products online are speed, privacy, ease of choosing and ordering products, and reduction in possible prescription errors with the use of computer technology to transmit prescriptions from doctors to pharmacies. Other benefits include: lower prices through increased competition among licensed sellers; greater availability of drugs for people with difficulties causing inability to get to the pharmacy or people who may live a great distance from the pharmacy; the ease of comparative shopping among many sites to find the best prices and products; and greater convenience and variety of products for all customers who prefer online ordering of drugs. While there seems to be vast amounts of benefits with these online drug prescription sites for consumers, the public must remember that they are at risk from avaricious sites or individuals that run them, which do not have the best interests of the consumer in mind. Over approximately 200 domestic sites have been identified by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy and the American Medical Association identified over 400 sites that both dispense and offer a prescribing service, half of which are located in foreign countries. This sizeable variety of companies, which are expanding everyday, give rise to numerous concerns for the consumer and challenges for government at both state and federal levels. Such concerns include illegal sale of drugs not approved by the FDA, distribution of counterfeit drugs, prescription drugs dispensed without a valid prescription, fatal interactions between drugs that may occur because of sites only requiring one to fill out a questionnaire to obtain the prescribed drug without prior knowledge of medical history, and products marketed with fraudulent health claims. The unique qualities of the Internet, including its broad reach, relative anonymity, and ease of creating new websites or removing old ones, pose new challenges for the enforcement of existing laws. The technological advancements of electronic commerce have outdated the establishment of the FDA and its system of drug regulation as it exists today. The FDA's system of drug regulation reviews new drugs to assess their safety and efficacy. In addition, it only permitted licensed health care professionals with the necessary education and training to administer prescription drugs, which reduced the risks that may occur from lack of knowledge by individuals without the proper credentials. The global nature of the Internet and the ability for websites to be made up of several related sites and links allows illegal transactions to occur readily thereby placing consumers health and safety at extreme peril. The occurrence of illegal transactions from online pharmacies becomes possible because foreign sites can be accessed and used to obtain drug prescriptions. Foreign countries have different drug regulations than those in America and create a difference in the legality of all existing

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