Scholar’s Corner: Recent Scholarly Works in Global Health Law

Internet Pharmacies: Global Threat Requires a Global Approach to Regulation

Carlisle E. George
Middlesex University


Hertfordshire Law Journal , Vol. 4, No. 1, pp. 12-25, 2006



This paper investigates the growing phenomenon of selling drugs and medical services over the Internet via Internet Pharmacies. It discusses some of the benefits of Internet Pharmacies and some serious concerns that they bring for regulators, governments and global consumers. In addition, the paper compares regulatory frameworks governing the operation of Internet Pharmacies in the United Kingdom (UK) and the United States (US), to illustrate some of the challenges related to differences. Some of these comparisons relate to regulatory structure, advertising of prescription drugs, online prescribing, data protection, policy on importing drugs for personal use and self-regulation/certification of websites. In assessing reasons for differences in the two jurisdictions, the paper concludes that these are due to various historic, economic, geographic and political factors. The paper argues that continuing regulatory challenges arise due to the nature of the Internet, jurisdiction issues, economic realities, and a lack of harmonisation of regulatory policy at an international/global level. The paper further argues that a global approach is needed to regulate online medical services, because of the potential threat to the health and well-being of the global community.

Available at SSRN


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