AMA to develop Web prescription guidelines
June 24, 1999
Web posted at: 1:56 p.m. EDT (1756 GMT)
(CNN) -- The American Medical Association adopted a resolution Thursday at its annual meeting in Chicago calling for the development of principles describing appropriate use of the Internet for prescriptions.
The organization, made up of approximately 35 percent of all U.S. doctors, will support the use of the Internet as means of prescribing drugs, but only with appropriate safeguards ensuring high-quality medical care.
Many doctors have been critical of the way drugs are prescribed over the Web. In some cases, customers receive medication after filling out a questionnaire that is reviewed by an online doctor, but the patient never actually sees a physician.
The resolution also says the AMA will work with state medical societies, urging them to investigate and take action when necessary against doctors who do not meet local standards of medical care when issuing online prescriptions. The group also intends to work on the state level to develop model state legislation to establish limits on Internet prescribing.
"When a physician writes a prescription for a patient, that prescription should be based on adequate history and appropriate physical exam and an evaluation of the risks and benefits of the prescription," said AMA President Dr. Nancy Dickey. "If a patient and doctor don't know each other, then it's very difficult, probably impossible for that to happen over the Internet."
The group plans to continue working with the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy and support the "Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites" program in an effort to make it easier for consumers to identify sites with approved pharmacy practices.
The AMA also intends to work with federal and state regulatory agencies to investigate online prescribing when necessary in an effort to close down questionable sites.
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AMA Annual Meeting
National Institutes of Health
Food & Drug Administration
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