April 28, 2006, 12:00 AM

Rx for E-drugstores

(Page 3 of 3)

Boehm says re-importation still goes on, and while technically the legality of the practice is questionable, some pharmacies in this group are legitimate pharmacies in their home countries. “The challenge is that it’s tough to differentiate a legitimate pharmacy from someone selling sugar pills and calling it Propecia,” she says.

Boehm adds that the new Medicare drug benefit isn’t going to make overseas pharmacies and outright rogue pharmacies disappear from the Internet, particularly since the benefits as outlined in the act are proving extremely difficult for consumers to understand. Nevertheless-spam aside-these represent a very small percentage of the prescription drug market. According to Boehm, in 2003, for example, of the 12% of U.S. consumers surveyed who had purchased drugs online, only 9% said they’d purchased from an overseas pharmacy, and only 6% said they’d purchased a drug without a prescription. “The numbers were tiny,” she says.

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