A sharp increase in the number of online pharmacies offering highly controlled drugs without requiring a prescription is feeding a similar rise in the abuse of powerful pharmaceuticals in the U.S., particularly among teens, witnesses told a Senate panel Wednesday.
At a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on legislation to crack down on "rogue" Internet pharmacies, lawmakers were presented with data showing that the number of Web sites advertising or selling controlled prescription drugs increased by 70% over the past year.
The report, titled You've Got Drugs and produced by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University, said 84% of those sites currently do not require a prescription, and more than half of those that did simply asked that a prescription be faxed, potentially allowing customers to forge the document or use it at multiple pharmacies.
The bill under consideration by the Judiciary Committeethe "Online Pharmacy Consumer Protection Act of 2007"would ban the sale of drugs online without an original written prescription, and would require doctors to meet with patients in person before prescribing medication. It was jointly offered by Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.).
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