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European Pharmaceutical Contractor

A Call to Regulate the Online Sale of Prescription Drugs

The Internet has often been likened to the Wild West: there are few established laws and the regulatory bodies that do exist have little power to enforce them. There have been a number of high profile cases of Internet crime in the past few years, several of which have resulted in prison sentences for the accused. Less well publicised has been the recent increase in websites illegally selling prescription drugs online.

The Internet has rapidly become a major channel for all kinds of commerce. E-commerce now enables consumers to buy books, software, CDs and DVDs, flights and holidays and even food from their local supermarket, all without ever leaving their house. For most goods and services, there is little for authorities to worry about in this development.

However, a large number of websites are now available selling prescription and non-prescription drugs to consumers. Often these drugs are sold on the basis of an 'online checkup', where a doctor remotely diagnoses a patient's condition and prescribes medication without the need for a personal visit. Some websites operate with yet looser restrictions, and appear to be able to sell drugs to anyone willing to tick a box proclaiming that they are allowed to take such medicines.


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By Ben Coppin, the Chief Operating Officer and Co-Founder of Envisional Limited

Ben Coppin is the Chief Operating Officer and Co-Founder of Envisional Limited, a software company that monitors the Internet for intellectual property infringements, with a particular emphasis on trademark and copyright infringement.

Ben has worked in the software industry since graduating from Cambridge University with a degree in Computer Science, and founded Envisional in 1999 with Chief Technical Officer, Chris Swannack, and Company Chairman, Demis Hassabis.

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