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H.R. 6353 (110th): Ryan Haight Online Pharmacy Consumer Protection Act of 2008

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The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress, and was published on Oct 15, 2008.

Ryan Haight Online Pharmacy Consumer Protection Act of 2008 - Amends the Controlled Substances Act to prohibit the delivery, distribution, or dispensing of a controlled substance that is a prescription drug over the Internet without a valid prescription. Exempts telemedicine practitioners.

Defines "valid prescription" as a prescription that is issued for a legitimate medical purpose in the usual course of professional practice by a practitioner who has conducted at least one in-person medical evaluation of a patient.

Defines "online pharmacy" as a person, entity, or Internet site, whether in the United States or abroad, that knowingly or intentionally delivers, distributes, or dispenses a controlled substance by means of the Internet. Excludes from such definition: (1) manufacturers or distributors who do not dispense controlled substances to an unregistered individual or entity; (2) nonpharmacy practitioners; (3) certain hospitals or medical facilities operated by the federal government or by an Indian tribe or tribal organization; (4) mere advertisements that do not attempt to facilitate an actual transaction involving a controlled substance; and (5) other persons or entities the exclusion of which the Attorney General and the Secretary of Health and Human Services find to be consistent with effective controls against diversion and with the public health and safety.

Imposes registration and reporting requirements on online pharmacies that dispense 100 or more prescriptions or 5,000 or more dosage units of all controlled substances combined in one month.

Requires an online pharmacy to: (1) display specified information on its Internet home page, including a statement that it complies with the requirements of this Act, its name, address, and telephone number, the qualifications of its pharmacist-in-charge, and a certification of its registration under this Act; (2) comply with state laws for the licensure of pharmacies in each state in which it operates or sells controlled substances; and (3) notify the Attorney General and applicable state boards of pharmacy 30 days prior to offering to sell, deliver, distribute, or dispense controlled substances over the Internet.

Authorizes the Attorney General to issue a special registration under this Act for telemedicine practitioners. Requires practitioners who issue a prescription for a controlled substance under the authorization to conduct telemedicine during a medical emergency to report to the Secretary of Veterans Affairs the authorization of that emergency prescription.

Increases criminal penalties involving controlled substances in Schedules III, IV, and V of the Controlled Substances Act.

Authorizes states to apply for injunctions or obtain damages and other civil remedies against online pharmacies that are deemed a threat to state residents.

Requires the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to report to Congress not later than 180 days after the enactment of this Act and annually for two years after such initial report on: (1) the foreign supply chains and sources of controlled substances offered for sale without a valid prescription on the Internet; (2) DEA efforts and strategy to decrease such foreign supply chains; and (3) DEA efforts to work with domestic and multinational pharmaceutical companies and others in combating the sale of controlled substances over the Internet without a valid prescription.