Alex Sicre, who I follow on Twitter, sent me a note to remind me that H.R. 6353 had passed in the House of Representatives last week. It was received in the Senate last Thursday and is expected to pass there as well.
In the face of Congress’ apparent bumbling of the $700 billion financial bailout package, I’m glad to know that something useful can still emerge from the lawmaking process.
You can read the full text of the legislation here; here’s a summary of its provisions:
- Amends the Controlled Substances Act to prohibit the delivery, distribution, or dispensing of controlled substances over the Internet without a valid prescription. Exempts telemedicine practitioners.
- Defines “valid prescription” as a prescription that is issued for a legitimate purpose by a practitioner who has conducted at least one in-person medical evaluation of the patient.
- Adds definitions to the Controlled Substances Act relating to online pharmacies and the issuance of prescriptions over the Internet.
Imposes registration and reporting requirements on online pharmacies.
- Authorizes the Attorney General to issue a special registration under this Act for telemedicine practitioners.
- Increases criminal penalties involving controlled substances in Schedules II, IV, and V of the Controlled Substances Act.
- Authorizes states to apply for injunctions or obtain damages and other civil remedies against online pharmacies that are deemed a threat to state residents.
Keep in mind that licensed Canadian pharmacies do not ship controlled substances into the U.S., so this act applies to rogue pharmacies, both in the U.S. and worldwide. We applaud the Ryan Haight Online Pharmacy Consumer Protection Act — because the more that is done to protect Americans against rogue pharmacies, the more they will look to the many benefits that legitimate online pharmacies have to offer.166