Cassie Goldberg, March 2, 2010
This week, the Online Pharmacy Safety Act – designed to update and enhance U.S. law to protect patients from the growing number of illegitimate and unsafe online drug sellers – was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) and Rep. Mike Ross (D-AR). A similar bill was introduced in the Senate late last year by Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Jeff Sessions (R-AL), Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and John Cornyn (R-TX). These bills protect Americans looking to buy medications online by helping to ensure access to safe, legitimate and legal online pharmacies. Specifically, the legislation requires the federal government to compile a public list of all legitimate online pharmacy websites and clarifies the definition of “valid prescription” so that criminal organizations cannot take advantage of the loopholes in the current law.
Research released in 2010 by The Partnership at Drugfree.org and the Alliance for Safe Online Pharmacies (ASOP) showed that illegal online drug sellers sold medication to more than thirty-six million people, or one in six Americans, who didn’t have a valid prescription. These staggering numbers brought to light a serious public health problem, made even more troubling by the prevalence of prescription medicine abuse in the U.S.