Skip to content

Information and Resources

Font Size
A
A
A

A Cat Can Order Viagra?

Online prescriptions are easy to get. Do you know the risks?

Should "Rogue Pharmacies" Be Shut Down?

So-called "rogue pharmacies'' are a pain in the side of a burgeoning legitimate online industry expected to be worth an estimated $4 billion by 2004. Debby Fry Wilson, director of government relations for drugstore.com, says her company believes the rogue sites should be shut down because they are "a potential danger to the public health."

For its part, the industry is trying to help consumers determine when a pharmacy is legitimate. The National Association of Pharmacy Boards now offers its Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites "seal of approval." To earn the mark, online pharmacies must agree to an inspection by the pharmacy board and show that all pharmacists filling prescriptions maintain the appropriate state licenses in good standing. To date just five sites have been acknowledged: cvs.com (a sponsor of WebMD); drugstore.com; familymeds.com; merck-medco.com, and planetrx.com.

Medical experts say that consumers should seek out Internet pharmacies that have earned the seal and steer clear of ordering drugs online unless their personal physician plays a role in writing the prescription. "Our challenge is to make sure that the same safety net that protects the consumer who purchases prescription drugs at the corner store is in place when the click of a mouse is used to purchase from a venue in cyberspace," says the FDA's Henney.

Until that safety net is in place, it's up to the individual consumer to observe caution. The responsible sites require and verify a prescription. (See Online, No Need to Wait in Line) Those that don't, undermine the medical supervision that protects you from the potential dangers inherent in most drugs.

Michael D. Towle is based in Chantilly, Va., and writes regularly on health and legal issues for WebMd.

1 | 2 | 3

Hot Topics

WebMD Video: Now Playing

Click here to wach video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing

Which sex is the worst about washing up? Why is it so important? We’ve got the dirty truth on how and when to wash your hands.

Click here to watch video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing

Popular Slideshows & Tools on WebMD

bloodstream
Tips to help prevent clots.
checking blood sugar
Symptoms, diagnosis and treatment.
acupuncture needle on shoulder
Live and thrive.
gloved hand holding syringe
10 preventable diseases.
lone star tick
How to identify that bite.
man eating meal
Folates, green tea and more.
brain scan with soda
Tips to avoid complications.
disciplining a boy
Types, symptoms, causes.
Woman with stressed, fatigue
Get relief tips.
restroom sign
Food and drinks that make you go.
two male hands
Understanding RA.

Pollen counts, treatment tips, and more.

It's nothing to sneeze at.

Loading ...

Sending your email...

This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.

Thanks!

Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.

Women's Health Newsletter

Find out what women really need.