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Internet Prescription Sales

The Wall Street Journal reported (page B1) on October 5, 2012 that "U.S. officials moved this week to shut down web sites owned by Canada Drugs the Internet pharmacy and drug wholesaler that distributed counterfeit Avastin to doctors last year...." The federal government, however, has stated that individuals who are buying no more than a 3 month supply of non-controlled (i.e., not illegal) prescription drugs are not being prosecuted, although it is technically illegal for an individual to purchase prescription drugs without a valid prescription.

In response to the proliferation of on line prescription pharmacies, the National Association of Board of Pharmacies (NABP), established in 1904, created in 1999 a program named Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites (VIPPS). VIPPS gives a "seal of approval" to companies which ship prescriptions internationally so long as they meet all applicable state licensure requirements and regulatory standards as well as the standards of the National Association Board of Pharmacy. Even though almost all of these companies are based in the U.S., a person can get substantial savings on most prescription drugs, though most of these companies require a prescription from the patient's doctor.

For example, according to Pharmacychecker.com, a 3 months supply of Advair Diskus, prescribed to treat asthma, is normally $947.97 at traditional drug stores, but on the Internet, from a VIPPS approved Internet site, the same amount of the drug is, on average, $149.00. Walgreens and Walmart are on the VIPPS list. A list of VIPPS approved pharmacies can be found at: www.nabp.net The company, Pharmapassport seems to have some of the better prices.

by Arch McColl, Criminal Defense Lawyer

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