Cyberpharmacies and the role of the US Food And Drug Administration

J Med Internet Res. Jan-Mar 2001;3(1):E3. doi: 10.2196/jmir.3.1.e3.


The sale of consumer products over the Internet has grown rapidly, including the sale of drugs. While the growth in online drug sales by reputable pharmacies is a trend that may provide benefits to consumers, online drug sales also present risks to purchasers and some unique challenges to regulators, law enforcement officials and policy makers. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA or the Agency) is concerned about the public health implications of Internet drug sales, and we are responding to these concerns as part of our overall goal of developing and implementing risk-based strategies to protect public health and safety. Although other products regulated by the Agency, such as medical devices, medical test products, foods, dietary supplements and animal drugs also are sold online, this paper focuses on online drug sales. We discuss the advantages and risks of online drug sales, outline FDA's authority and enforcement activities in this area, and describe new initiatives we are taking to better respond to the regulatory challenges we face.

MeSH terms

  • Commerce / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Commerce / methods
  • Drug Prescriptions
  • Drug and Narcotic Control / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Drug and Narcotic Control / methods
  • Humans
  • Internet / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Pharmacies / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians' / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Quality of Health Care / legislation & jurisprudence
  • United States
  • United States Food and Drug Administration / legislation & jurisprudence*