WASHINGTON, April 13 (UPI) -- New rules governing the operation of online pharmacies became effective Monday, designed to prevent the illegal distribution of drugs.
Officials said the new Drug Enforcement Administration regulations implementing the Ryan Haight Online Pharmacy Consumer Protection Act will help prevent illegal diversion of medications to people for whom the drugs aren't intended.
The DEA said the act was named for 18-year-old Ryan Haight who died after overdosing on a prescription painkiller he obtained on the Internet.
"Now that this law has been put into force it will be harder for cybercriminals to supply controlled substances over the Internet and easier for us to prosecute them," said DEA Acting Administrator Michele M. Leonhart. "These regulations add important new provisions to prevent the illegal distribution of controlled substances through the Internet. Its implementation will increase Internet safety and help prevent tragedies like Ryan Haight's death from happening again."
The act amends existing law by adding new provisions, including:
--New definitions, such as "online pharmacy" and "deliver, distribute or dispense by means of the Internet."
--A requirement of at least one face-to-face patient medical evaluation prior to issuance of a controlled substance prescription.
--Registration requirements for online pharmacies.