FDA Plans Crackdown on Online Drug Sales

September 1, 1999
Oncology, ONCOLOGY Vol 13 No 9, Volume 13, Issue 9

Jane Henney, MD, commissioner of the FDA, says that the agency is going to crack down on Internet sales of unapproved new drugs, health fraud (eg, where a site claims some drug will cure cancer), and drugs sold without a valid prescription.

Jane Henney, MD, commissioner of the FDA, says that the agency is going to crack down on Internet sales of unapproved new drugs, health fraud (eg, where a site claims some drug will cure cancer), and drugs sold without a valid prescription. Oftentimes, all customers have to do is fill out an online form, which results in their getting a prescription from a physician who is on the payroll of the website. The problem is that such prescriptions are not illegal per se. Although state medical practice laws frown on physicians prescribing a medication without physically examining a patient, the practice is not illegal. Nor do any states have separate Internet prescribing laws. Henney is particularly concerned about sites that offer quack cures for cancer.