As executive director of the Alliance for Safe Online Pharmacies (ASOP), Libby Baney, senior director in FaegreBD Consulting's health and biosciences team, works to curb the trend of consumers buying prescription drugs from illegal (or legally murky) online sources. A USA Today Special Edition on the topic highlighted Baney's efforts and asked her to assess why people may resort to this form of self-medicating. According to the article, "roughly one in six" Americans have bought prescription drugs online, often seeking items not covered by insurance, such as infertility drugs, or drugs that tend to carry more substantial co-pays. In some cases, Baney said, ordering prescription drugs online may just be an extension of shopping habits.
"This is not necessarily an access or cost issue," Baney said. "This is a convenience issue, a continuation of our desire to buy things online."
The piece also discussed how Baney has seen the risks of using online prescription drugs impact someone close to her. Years ago, her sister began purchasing allergy meds online as a way to cut cost—at the advice of her physician. As a result, she suffered serious side effects. Along with educating the public, Baney said that the intervention of Internet gatekeepers such as payment processors and search engines could help others avoid the same pitfalls her sister endured.
"All of those points along the Internet distribution chain can and should take voluntary action against entities that knowingly take part in illegal activities that endanger patients," Baney said.
The article is not available online.