Perusing the California State Board of Pharmacy’s Web site, I came across a memo on pharmacies investigated for filling prescriptions for Web site operators. If these prescriptions are not backed up by an appropriate prescriber exam, these “pharmacies are facilitating the illegal distribution of prescription drugs from the Internet,” the memo explained.
Apparently the board has already issued millions of dollars in fines to these pharmacies. According to the memo, many of these pharmacies have reported that they had received offers via fax to fill these Internet orders for a fee.
How big of a threat is there? These patients may be self-medicating. Patient health is at risk when prescription drugs are used without professional advice. Patients may also be at risk for drug interactions or other complications when not fully aware of the products’ proper use. And sadly, a few days ago we shared the report that “abuse of painkillers and other medication is sending as many people to the hospital as the use of illegal drugs.”
Internet opportunists appear to be taking advantage of these patients and the legitimate supply chain. They are creatively persistent and will continue to look for gaps.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if every prescription could be serialized so that its path through the supply chain–including prescribing history–could be precisely traced? That way, legitimate pharmacies looking to supplement their income won’t be drawn into the latest scams. And your products won’t be caught up in the mix.