Michigan warns online pharmacies

"When a child can get a prescription drug in the mail without ever seeing a doctor, when a woman or man with a heart condition is sent Viagra or other controlled substances, no questions asked, we have a problem," Granholm said. "These online pharmacies are, in many ways, no better than the street corner drug pusher. All they are interested in is money."

Granholm's investigators were repeatedly able to receive prescription medications -- including the sexual dysfunction drug Viagra, and Phentremine, a diet drug and controlled substance under Michigan law -- despite providing data in their medical history that clearly would have posed a health risk. Children received the drugs simply by lying about their age on the online consultation form.

"In every instance, our investigators purchased powerful prescription drugs meant to be given and used under close physician supervision," Granholm said. "And, in every instance, these drugs were distributed with absolutely no regard for who was receiving and eventually taking them."

By Wednesday afternoon, three of the online companies, Gynemed Net Inc., Doctors ASAP Inc., and Ken's Pharmacy, had indicated they would no longer ship to Michigan, according to the Associated Press. A complete list of the named pharmacies is available through the attorney's general's World Wide Web site (www.ag.state.mi.us).

Earlier this year, Illinois Attorney General Jim Ryan filed lawsuits against four out-of-state Internet companies for selling prescription drugs online without proper licensing (civic.com, Oct. 25, 1999). Kansas and Missouri also have filed lawsuits against online pharmacies.

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