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USA Today

In Utah, a push to expand online prescriptions nationwide

USA Today – Jan 05, 2010

Article text here. A Utah lawmaker wants to make his state the only one where medicines can be legally prescribed online, The Salt Lake Tribune reports.

State Sen. Curt Bramble, R-Provo., plans to sponsor a bill to set clear rules for companies that want to join KwikMed, which bills itself as “the only company granted regulatory approval to prescribe FDA-approved and domestically manufactured medications online.”

“The primary interest of the Legislature would be to establish a uniform statutory framework for the regulation and oversight of online pharmacy operations … and making it a level playing field for all participants,” Bramble said.

The move is the “wave of the future,” said Tanya Malik, CEO of the North Carolina-based Medical Web, an online patient-physician tool.

The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy and the Utah Medical Association are critical of the plan.

“Online prescriptions, absent a physical examination of a patient, do not meet the standard of care and in some states are illegal,” said Carmen Catizone, executive director of the pharmacists’ trade group. “For all of the sites, KwikMed included, if there’s not a physical examination, that prescription is invalid.”

The state medical association has long opposed online prescription “because you have no required patient-prescriber relationship,” said Michelle McOmber, head of the Utah Medical Association.

“It’s just not a smart practice. I don’t think it’s a step forward for patient safety. I think it’s a step backward.”

Utah emerged as a base for online pharmacies after KwikMed entered into an agreement with the Utah State Department of Occupational and Professional Licensing and the Utah State Boards of Pharmacy, Medicine and Osteopathy to prescribe what are known as “lifestyle” drugs for restoring hair or sexual function, quitting smoking or for other medical issues.

Bramble told the Tribune that his bill would “establish a uniform statutory framework for the regulation and oversight of online pharmacy operations.”

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