RYAN HAIGHT ONLINE PHARMACY CONSUMER PROTECTION ACT OF 2008 -- (House of Representatives - September 23, 2008)
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Mr. PALLONE. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong support of H.R. 6353, the Ryan Haight Online Pharmacy Consumer Protection Act of 2008. This legislation addresses serious concerns about the purchase of controlled substances through online pharmacies.
According to the Drug Enforcement Agency, nearly seven million Americans are abusing prescription drugs, more than the number who are abusing cocaine, heroin, hallucinogens, ecstasy and inhalants combined.
Prescription pain relievers are new drug users' drug of choice. Nearly one in 10 high school seniors admits to abusing powerful prescription pain relievers. And prescription pain relievers appear to be among the drugs most heavily dispensed by certain Internet pharmacies using prescriptions that are issued based on online questionnaires. Most times, the doctor providing the prescription has never seen the patient or even had a conversation with them. This practice has sometimes been abused by rogue sites and it has led to instances of addiction, overdose and death.
H.R. 6353 will go a long way in combating this harmful practice. The bill prohibits the delivery, distribution, or dispensing of controlled substances over the Internet without a valid prescription. A valid prescription is defined as a prescription that is issued for a legitimate purpose by a practitioner who has conducted at least one in-person medical evaluation of the patient.
H.R. 6353 also imposes new registration and reporting requirements for online pharmacies. The legislation before us also increases criminal penalties involving controlled substances in Schedules II, IV and V of the Controlled Substances Act.
H.R. 6353 is named after Ryan Haight, a young man who unfortunately was the victim of illegal sales of pharmaceuticals through the Internet. Ryan died on February 12, 2001 at the age of 18 from an overdose of prescription drugs he had purchased on the Internet. Ryan was prescribed the drugs by a doctor whom he never saw and was never examined by, and an Internet pharmacy delivered them to his home.
H.R. 6353 is the result of the leadership of Representative BART STUPAK
and the hard work and cooperation of the Democratic and Republican members of the Energy and Commerce Committee and the Judiciary Committee.
The bill is a bipartisan product. It enjoys the support of the administration and the National Association of Chain Drug Stores.
I strongly urge all of my colleagues to vote to prevent another needless death similar to that of Ryan Haight and vote for the passage of this bill.
Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
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