State shutters pharmacy because of Internet sale

Filed under: Health Care |

The Colorado Board of Pharmacy has suspended Western States Pharmacy for selling medication over the Internet without an appropriate prescription.

The board also filed a notice of charges against Wendell Almeida, the pharmacist’s manager, following an investigation conducted by the board.

“Pharmaceutical sales over the Internet can be subject to widespread abuse,” Attorney General John Suthers said. “Our investigation of Western States Pharmacy revealed that their manager dispensed an unauthorized prescription received over the Internet without getting proper approval from a doctor.”

As attorney general, Suthers prosecutes violations of pharmacy board policy.

In addition to alleging that a prescription dispensed by Western States was not properly approved by a doctor, the board also alleged that the pharmacy dispensed the prescription from an unregistered location.

While purchasing prescriptions online is not illegal, any pharmacy that fills online prescriptions without verifying the validity of the relationship between the doctor and the patient violates board rules.

“Web sites that arrange pharmaceutical sales are often fly-by-night operations, arranging sales of large quantities of controlled substances and other prescription drugs to customers across the country,” Suthers said. “In many cases, the prescriptions are filled solely on medical information provided by the consumer through online questionnaires.”

Suthers said that the ease with which drugs can be purchased online allows anyone, including minors, to obtain large amounts of potentially harmful drugs.

“The Internet has made the purchase of drugs much too easy,” he said. “In many instances, the consumer only needs a computer, Internet access and a credit card to make a purchase.”

A hearing before the Office of Administrative Courts will he held later this year.

Nation’s most advanced nursing training center opens

The nation’s most advanced resource for nursing education has opened on the Fitzsimons Bioscience Campus.

The Work, Education and Lifelong Learning Simulation Center is the only facility in the United States that provides online integration of clinical simulation mannequins with the VH Dissector three-dimensional computerized anatomy tool.

The center’s resources are available to every school of nursing and hospital in the state.

“Colorado has one of the worst nursing shortages in the country — and we can train more nurses better and faster with the resources of the WELLS Center,” said Rick Grice, executive director of the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment.

The department funds the center using a grant from the President’s High Growth Job Training Initiative.

“Acess to clinical education is one of the bottlenecks to producing more nurses in Colorado,” Grice said.

Features of the center include:

  • Six computer-driven mannequins that can simulate virtually any type of clinical experience — including emergency room situations, surgery, heart attacks, births and allergic reactions.
  • VH Dissector, an, interactive computer program for learning anatomy and virtual dissection.
  • High-speed data-casting that makes the simulation tools available to schools and hospitals statewide.

The Center is managed by the Colorado Center for Nursing Excellence.

Red Cross seeks hurricane volunteers

The American Red Cross Pikes Peak Chapter is seeking 20 to 25 allied health professionals to serve on Rapid Shelter Response Teams.

As a result of Hurricane Katrina’s devastation in Louisiana, massive numbers of evacuees are expected to seek shelter in the event of another landfall — which likely would exceed the capabilities of Red Cross units in that state.

The organization has been asked by governmental agencies to be prepared to shelter more than 180,000 evacuees in Louisiana.

Health professionals such as RNs, LPNs, CNAs, EMTs and physicians must have a current, active, unencumbered license or certificate.

Volunteers would receive training in Red Cross sheltering services, and must be able to commit to being on call during the hurricane season for rapid response and a deployment commitment of 30 days.

Interested medical professionals can call Jennifer Mariano, emergency services coordinator for the Pikes Peak Chapter, at 785-2721.

Coalition offers free health insurance advice

Washington, D.C.-based Future of Music Coalition has implemented a health insurance guidance program for musicians called the Health Insurance Navigation Tool.

The program will provide information at and offer free phone consultations about affordable health coverage options available to artists and musicians.

According to a 2002 survey conducted by the FMC, musicians are less likely to have health insurance than the general population.

HINT’s insurance consultants will help those interested to navigate through the often confusing process of obtaining health insurance.

Amy Gillentine covers health care for the Colorado Springs Business Journal.