CBS Now Sees Danger in Online Drug Purchases
Last summer, news reports on the CBS âEvening Newsâ with Bob Schieffer downplayed or outright ignored the facts that re-importing prescription drugs is illegal and can be unsafe or unreliable. But now with a new anchor at the helm, the program took a look at the dangers of online pharmacies in light of a federal raid on a fake online pharmacy.
âIt sounds so good, cheap prescription drugs just a click away on the Internet,â said anchor Katie Couric as she introduced the September 20 âEye on Medicineâ report, but, âit could be really dangerous because you may not be getting what you think you are.â
Correspondent Jim Stewart told viewers of a federal bust of â11 people and an Atlanta-based company with a scheme to sell the fake drugs over the Internet.â Stewart noted that the phony drugs were manufactured in âa rented house in Belizeâ and the Web site peddling them told customers it was a Canadian pharmacy selling re-imported drugs.
Following Stewartâs piece, Couric interviewed CBS chief medical correspondent Dr. Jon LaPook, who insisted itâs dangerous to order drugs online because âyou have no idea what youâre actually getting.â LaPook added that âitâs tough enoughâ to get the precise amounts and mix of ingredients âin a legitimate medicine, much less one thatâs made in some basement.â
CBSâs top doc closed the interview urging viewers to check out cbsnews.com for a list of legitimate pharmacy Web sites where they can legally obtain safe prescription drugs. A visit to the CBS Web site urged readers to look for âInternet websites that display the seal of the National Association of Boards of Pharmacies.â
As the Business & Media Institute noted last year, the media have often ignored or downplayed the illegal nature of drug reimportation, a ban implemented in part from safety concerns.
âThe test results of our analyses offer proof positive that buying prescription drugs online from unknown foreign sources can be a risky business âŚ Consumers who believe they are getting equivalent products from reputable sources are being misled and putting their health at risk,â FDA Acting Commissioner Lester Crawford wrote in a July 13, 2004, press release.
Yet on the June 29, 2005, âEvening News,â the network lamented Canadaâs proposed ban on bulk drug exports to the United States. In that story, reporter Mika Brzezinski left out that drug re-importation is illegal. Whatâs more, the CBS correspondent pointed to how states like Illinois are helping people re-import drugs from countries like the United Kingdom, but didnât give viewers any warning about safety issues from Internet sales or tips on where to go to find reliable pharmacy Web sites.