FTC Cracks Down on Web Pharmacies


Wednesday, July 12th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6


WASHINGTON (AP) — In a crackdown on Web sites offering Viagra and other drugs targeting sexual dysfunction, several online pharmacies agreed to stop current business practices to settle charges that they made untrue claims about their facilities and charged customers unfairly, the Federal Trade Commission said Wednesday.

The FTC made similar complaints against 10 defendants: Sandra L. Rennert and Philip Rennert of Las Vegas, International Outsourcing Group, Focus Medical Group, Trimline, Affordable Accents, Worldwide RX, WorldWide Medicine, PSRenn and Doctors A.S.A.P.

The FTC alleged that the Web sites claimed they had ``full service clinics'' with a ``full time staff,'' and that their doctors ``network with an organization of physicians throughout the United States and internationally.''

The ``network of physicians'' consisted of one doctor in a distant state, according to the agency, and none of the sites had onsite pharmacies. The prescriptions were filled at a local drug store.

Consumers were asked to answer questions about their medical history on a ``Secure Viagra Order Form,'' and paid $75 for the medical consultation. According to the FTC, the information was faxed to a doctor who reviewed it and approved or denied a Viagra prescription — but the doctor was only paid his $10 fee if he approved the request.

The complaint also stated that 11,000 customers received unsolicited e-mail informing them that their credit cards would be billed $50 for ``Y2K remediation.'' It is illegal to charge a person's credit card without prior authorization.

A visit to the Worldwidemedicine.com Web site announces the creation of a new company, Doctors2000.com. That company, which also provides Viagra, Propecia and other prescription drugs, is taking orders for Worldwidemedicine.com, focusmedical.com, doctorsasap.com and worldrx.com.

The Doctors2000.com site says it is owned by Capital Placement, based in the British West Indies, though on public registration records its Web address belongs to Capital Placements in Henderson, Nev. Sandra Rennert, who was named individually as a defendant by the FTC, is listed as the contact for the address.

The settlements, which do not constitute an admission of guilt by the defendants, bar the companies from their current trade practices and prohibit the defendants from passing on customers' personal information.

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On the Net: Federal Trade Commission: http://www.ftc.gov/