GAO on Internet Pharmacies: Some Pose Safety Risks for Consumers

Many consumers have turned to the Internet to purchase medications. However, the global nature of the Internet can hinder state and federal efforts to identify and regulate Internet pharmacies to help assure the safety and efficacy of products sold. A recent report by the Government Accounting Office (GAO) examined (1) the extent to which certain medicines can be purchased over the Internet without a prescription; (2) whether the medications are handled properly, approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and authentic; and (3) the extent to which Internet pharmacies are reliable in their business practices. Publication date: June 2004.