The pharmaceutical industry is looking to reinvent itself by developing an entirely new line of products, including an online pharmacy, to help doctors dispense fake medications.
The online pharmacy could be a huge opportunity for the industry, which is still struggling to find a way to sell its drugs.
But some medical professionals are worried it could create a new generation of patients who may buy fake products from the wrong person.
“We’ve seen a lot of problems with prescription fraud and we need to address it,” said Dr. David St. John, an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine.
“There is an enormous amount of potential for this.”
In a report published Thursday, the International Pharmacists Association (IPAA) said there are currently about 4,000 fraudulent prescriptions on the Internet, mostly written by patients who have been instructed to get prescriptions from trusted companies, but without verifying the legitimacy of the prescription.
Patients who have paid with credit card numbers or online are more likely to receive a fake prescription than those who do not, the study said.
The group estimates there are more than 7.4 million such counterfeit prescriptions out there.
In 2016, there were more than 12 million, making up one-fifth of all prescription fraud cases.
St. John said that while there is no evidence that the online pharmacy will be able to catch fake prescription sellers, it could help doctors better manage the volume of prescriptions they dispense.
“It’s not that we’re giving up on online pharmacy,” he said.
“It’s that we need more people to get to know each other.”
The real goal of the online pharmacists, he said, is to make the process of dispensing prescription drugs more transparent.
“I don’t think there’s a way around that.
It’s an open question what is the right number of prescriptions that should be sent out.”
The new product is being developed by the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), a trade group that represents pharmaceutical companies, as part of an effort to increase transparency and accountability for pharmaceutical sales.
PhRMAS, which has partnered with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) to develop a new platform to help consumers identify and stop fraudulent sales of pharmaceuticals, is working with an expert panel to identify the most promising new online pharmacy offerings.
The panel includes researchers from academia and industry.
PhrMA and NIAID are partnering with the pharmaceutical industry’s trade group, the American Association of Clinical Chemistry (AACC), to develop an app that would help doctors and patients track the number of prescription orders sent out to the right companies.
The new app would include a new database that would enable pharmacists to see which companies are dispensing the right medicines, as well as the number and type of prescriptions sent to each of the right providers.
The AACC said the app would help pharmacists improve their understanding of patients’ needs and prescribe more appropriate medicine to meet their needs.
Pharmaceutical companies and their trade groups have been working for years to develop new ways to streamline the process for prescription orders, which can take days, weeks, or months to be processed by pharmacists.
They also want to reduce the cost of prescription drugs, and they are looking for ways to make it easier for consumers to get their prescriptions filled.
But while pharmacists could see their job as a less demanding one, some experts say there could be some downside.
“If you can do it by phone, it’s easy to go through,” said St. Paul University professor of pharmacy Ken Kahan.
“But when it comes to getting those prescriptions in, it can be very, very frustrating.
We know that people can’t just go to the pharmacy and get a prescription.
It takes time, it takes time for that person to get that prescription filled.”
Phrmas report recommends that pharmacists start with a system that makes it easy for consumers, pharmacists and their patients to track the quantity and type, and to track whether those orders are coming from the right provider or not.
But the report also recommends that the government establish an online database of all prescribers who have sent prescriptions to the wrong provider.
“The way we’re going to do this is by creating a way for people to send in their prescriptions to us, which would allow us to quickly and easily confirm whether the prescriptions are legitimate or not,” said Phrmas director of communications Scott R. Hahn.
“This would help us track the fraud and make sure that the right prescriber is sending out the correct medicine to the patient.”
The AACCA and Phrases research team is looking at creating a system to make this easy.
For instance, pharmacist Aaron E. Smith, who works in New York City, said he wants to see a system where he can simply send in a prescription to a pharmacist and the pharmacist would verify that it’s a genuine prescription.
“That’s the next step for me