Pursuant to the Controlled Substances Act, doctors cannot legally prescribe drugs to a patient unless the doctor has conducted an in-person physical exam of the patient and reviewed the patient's medical history, according to FindLaw. Buying drugs online without a valid prescription can be dangerous and costly.
In 2004, the American Medical Association released new guidelines governing prescribing drugs online in light of concern over the growing number of online pharmacies offering prescription drugs for sale without valid prescriptions, notes Medscape. Many online pharmacies sell prescription drugs after administering online health questionnaires to consumers, which are then purportedly reviewed by in-house physicians. The guidelines recommend that doctors who prescribe drugs online should either be licensed or eligible to practice medicine in the state where the consumer resides.