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Friday, December 4, 2009

Ryan Haight Act affects Online Pharmacy Practices

What is the Ryan Haight Act?

by Rhiannon Coppin
Wednesday, 14 January 2009

The Ryan Haight Online Pharmacy Protection Act was signed into law by President Bush on October 15, 2008. It is a bill that gives the DEA a lot more power to enforce what had been fuzzy rules around who is and who isn't a legally-operating distributor of controlled substances -- drugs, medications.

It officially prohibits anyone from selling or shipping "controlled substances" over the Internet when the customer does not have a "valid prescription," which means a prescription that a doctor issued during a real in-person visit.

The Act makes some exemptions for telemedicine (doctors phoning in refills, I presume?), but doctors doing telemedicine have to register first with the Attorney General.

The Act requires an online pharmacy to:
(1) display on its Internet homepage a statement that it complies with the requirements of this Act;
(2) comply with state laws for the licensure of pharmacies in each state in which it operates or sells controlled substances;
(3) post on its Internet homepage specified information, including the name, address, and telephone number of the pharmacy, the qualifications of its pharmacist-in-charge, and a certification of its registration under this Act; and
(4) notify the Attorney General and applicable state boards of pharmacy at least 30 days prior to offering to sell, deliver, distribute, or dispense controlled substances over the Internet.

The Act also imposed criminal penalties for some of the violations, and allows states to sue civilly to stop an online pharmacy from endangering its residents.

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