• President Bush Signs Bill Placing Greater Restrictions on Internet Pharmacies
  • November 1, 2008 | Author: Thomas H. Hawk
  • Law Firm: King & Spalding LLP - Atlanta Office
  • On October 15, President Bush signed the Ryan Haight Online Pharmacy Consumer Protection Act of 2008 ("RHOPCPA") , H.R. 6353. The purpose of the Act is to restrict Internet pharmacies from selling controlled substances without a valid prescription.

    Under prior law, many patients would visit an Internet pharmacy, describe generally their condition, and a physician that never saw the patient could approve the prescription. The new law requires the prescribing practitioner to either have conducted at least one in person examination or be covering for a person who has conducted at least one in person examination. In addition, the law requires online pharmacists to publish "in a visible and clear manner" information identifying the pharmacists, the business and its licensure and any physician associated with the website providing the drugs. Online pharmacies that sell controlled substances must notify the Attorney General and the State Boards of Pharmacy of each state in which the pharmacy will sell controlled substances at least 30 days prior to selling the drug.

    Notably, the RHOPCPA also vests States with a cause of action against Internet pharmacies that violate the law. State attorneys general may bring a lawsuit to enforce compliance. The PHOPCA requires pharmacies that sell over the Internet to register with the Attorney General. The law also makes clear that any pharmacy that is in violation of the PHOPCA requirements is subject to sanctions for illegal distributions of controlled substances, and the law increases the penalties for such illegal distributions.