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Doctors Bypassed As More Medicine Purchased Online

MANAGED CARE February 1999. © MediMedia USA
News and Commentary

Doctors Bypassed As More Medicine Purchased Online

MANAGED CARE February 1999. ©1999 Stezzi Communications

The Internet is becoming a vehicle for black-market sales of prescription drugs. Government officials are cautioning consumers they may be risking their lives — while warning doctors they may be risking their careers — by participating.

For those who want pharmaceuticals not yet approved for sale in the U.S., whose HMOs will dispense only a limited supply, or who just don't want to see a doctor, online pharmacies beckon. Some U.S. physicians are prescribing sight-unseen to customers across the country, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration.

While physicians are forbidden to prescribe to people who live in states beyond their licensure, states are having a difficult time policing this.

The AMA has called prescribing drugs for sight-unseen patients online "unethical."

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