CBS Now Sees Danger in Online Drug Purchases
Last summer, news reports on the CBS â€śEvening Newsâ€ť 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.
â€śIt sounds so good, cheap prescription drugs just a click away on the Internet,â€ť said anchor Katie Couric as she introduced the September 20 â€śEye on Medicineâ€ť report, but, â€śit could be really dangerous because you may not be getting what you think you are.â€ť
Correspondent Jim Stewart told viewers of a federal bust of â€ś11 people and an Atlanta-based company with a scheme to sell the fake drugs over the Internet.â€ť Stewart noted that the phony drugs were manufactured in â€śa rented house in Belizeâ€ť and the Web site peddling them told customers it was a Canadian pharmacy selling re-imported drugs.
Following Stewartâ€™s piece, Couric interviewed CBS chief medical correspondent Dr. Jon LaPook, who insisted itâ€™s dangerous to order drugs online because â€śyou have no idea what youâ€™re actually getting.â€ť LaPook added that â€śitâ€™s tough enoughâ€ť to get the precise amounts and mix of ingredients â€śin a legitimate medicine, much less one thatâ€™s made in some basement.â€ť
CBSâ€™s 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 â€śInternet websites that display the seal of the National Association of Boards of Pharmacies.â€ť
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.
â€śThe test results of our analyses offer proof positive that buying prescription drugs online from unknown foreign sources can be a risky business â€¦ Consumers who believe they are getting equivalent products from reputable sources are being misled and putting their health at risk,â€ť FDA Acting Commissioner Lester Crawford wrote in a July 13, 2004, press release.
Yet on the June 29, 2005, â€śEvening News,â€ť the network lamented Canadaâ€™s proposed ban on bulk drug exports to the United States. In that story, reporter Mika Brzezinski left out that drug re-importation is illegal. Whatâ€™s more, the CBS correspondent pointed to how states like Illinois are helping people re-import drugs from countries like the United Kingdom, but didnâ€™t give viewers any warning about safety issues from Internet sales or tips on where to go to find reliable pharmacy Web sites.