The Ryan Haight Online Pharmacy Consumer Protection Act just passed the House and will hit the Senate (very likely a pro forma vote) before going to the President’s desk for his signature.
For those hoping for a veto: No chance. President Bush will sign the bill. Top officials at the DEA, ONDCP and FDA started meeting internally and discussing the need for some sort of a clearer definition about what constitutes a “valid prescription” way back in 2004. (Some felt more strongly about it than others, but that’s a whole ‘nother story.) Bush made it the topic of his radio address in early March of this year, calling for the bill’s passage.
Like most legislation, it’s an imperfect solution to a complicated problem. The bill has some good provisions, and overall, LegitScript welcomes the increased clarity regarding the definition of “valid prescription” as well as tougher sanctions for Schedule III, IV and V offenses. The latter provision will likely encourage Assistant US Attorneys, who are often reluctant to take Schedule IV cases due to the difficulty of getting “real time,” to file more cases involving Ambien, Xanax, Valium and Phentermine, which are (by definition) “drugs of abuse” and a real problem on the Internet these days. (Again, a subject of a future blog.)