Sports-group

Introduction:

This paper is written to advice a group of sports-science graduates about several issues which must be considered when starting a company and achieving an online business.

The group of students wishes to start an online business, established in the UK, selling sports equipments, clothing, foot ware, and downloadable exercise videos and books to athletes throughout Europe. For the purpose of this paper, the group will be referred to as Sports-group.

Section 1:

Competitors Survey:

In this section, this paper bestows a comparative assessment on three chosen websites. Here, the aim is to opt in the best practices of conducting an online business.

Newitt & Co Ltd. (http://www.newitts.com).

This company is based in Yorkshire, UK. It began its business back in 1985. It sells a wide range of products such as sports equipments, clothing, books, sports footwear and DVDs. The products sold are of different brands such as Adidas, Nike, Puma and Reebok.

Maudesport Ltd. (http://www.equipmentforsport.co.uk).

Based in West Midlands, Maudesport is registered in England and Wales. This company offers its services throughout UK and overseas. It provides a range of sports equipment and fitness with brand names such as Nike, Adidas, Prince and Reebok.

JJB Sports plc (http://www.jjbsports.com).

This company has its registered office at Wigan, Lancashire. It provides footwear, clothing and sports equipment, throughout Europe, from different brands such as Adidas, Puma, Nike and Reebok. It extends its market to Wales, Great Britain, Northern Ireland and some offshore islands.

Sports-group can be advised to explicitly describe its company's information. Including where it is based, what kinds of products are being sold, and also all types of brand names associated with its products. Sports-group can also depict the locations of its market so as to enable users be aware of its reach. Since Sports-group is just starting its business, it will be gratuitous to mention for how long they have been in business, but imperative to describe its goals in sports business to its customers.

In conjunction with its company information, Sports-group needs to include several customer services so as to exert a pull on its customers. This can be assuring the company's contact details are easily reached and described at its best. Also, delivery services should be put in consideration with its cost depending on customer's location and the amount spent to buy the goods. It would not be advisable to include delivery cost in items' prices because it will not give customers their freedom of ways to deliver their goods.

It is also necessary for Sports-group to describe as to when acceptance of customers' offers take place (when is a contract formed between Sports-group and its customer) because this will help both parties understand where their constraints are, in terms of contract formation. Age preferences of customers can also be considered since it is an online business, hence degrade the chances of ordering mistakes. Also as a way of exerting a pull on customers, Sports-group can consider quick order application in its website.

Customers' rights are an important attribute to be considered when initiating an online business. Sports-group is required to include return policy in its website. Under Sale of Goods Act 1979 s.14, customers have a right to return the goods if they are not of quality and fit for customers' purposes. Section 12(1) of this act, gives consumers right to sell the products; Sports-group can include in their website, goods remain in their possession unless paid in full as done in the above three websites. Together with the return policy, Sports-group also has to exercise privacy policy. Identify what kind of information that is collected by the website, and how it will be used whilst reflecting on Data Protection Act 1998. Also in implementing privacy policy, Sports-group ought to explain how cookies will be used in their website.

Product Warranty allows customers to be confident in the products they purchase incase of any fault. As JJB Sports plc, Sports-group can be advised to include products warrant in the product description. The companies above provide a 1 year warranty as a standard warranty given by most manufacturers and suppliers.

When designing the company's website, Sports-group ought to consider several aspects as explained below:

Link among website pages allowing customers to have a better view of the website. As seen in the above websites, pages are all interlinked. Also terms and conditions of the website usage is an important feature in all commercial websites. As seen in www.newitts.com, these terms are not clearly explained. Hence does not allow users to be aware of terms and conditions easily before making any purchases. Sports-group can consider opting usage of a tick box to help customers be aware of their terms and conditions. Websites such as www.equipmentforsports.co.uk do not show exact prices, Sports-group can be advised otherwise that is to include VAT in their product prices so that the price shown is what the customer will pay for the item. Lastly, Frequent Asked Questions and Search functionalities are options that can be considered by Sports-group to allow a tranquil use of a website.

Section 2:

Company Name and Intellectual Property:

Company Name:

In choosing a company name for Sports-group, several steps ought to be considered and also legal issues enfolding company formation. In this paper, Sports-group Company's name is Sports4living ltd. The following are the steps considered when choosing the company name:

Company Type: Since Sports-group is a small and new online business and the company is not listed in the stock exchange, it falls under private companies. The company is limited by shares because “liability of each member is limited to the amount unpaid on shares that a member holds” (Companies House, 2009).
Company Name: To choose a company name basing on Companies Act 2006, WebCHeck service in Companies House website was used to verify there is no company with the same or similar proposed name, Sports4living ltd. Also Find Trade Marks from Intellectual Property Office website was used to verify there is no trademark which is the same or similar to a proposed company name. However, other factors considered include the company name not being offensive and also neither connected to government nor national authorities (OutLaw.Com, 2007). Another factor considered is if, there is any company using the same name as company name or trademark and has reputation but not registered so as to avoid any passing-off actions taken against them.

To register a company name, Sports-group ought to send four documents to the registrar of companies, Company House, in Cardiff since the online business will be located in UK; together with registration fee which is £20.00 in paper (Companies House, 2009). The documents to be sent are explained as follows according to Companies House regulations:

Memorandum of Association: This document will exhibit company's name as Sports4living and location of the company's registered office in UK. Also this document will include the objects of the company, explicitly selling of exercise and sports equipments, sports clothing and footwear, and also several sports related videos and e-books. However, Sports-group will classify in this document as their company being limited by shares and explain company's share capital, and all the members (shareholders) sign the document in front a chosen witness.

Articles of Association: Here the group will enlighten rules and regulations binding the company's activities. Sports-group will have to express the terms in the article, liabilities of the members which is limited to the shares unpaid by them. In addition, the group ought to describe powers and liabilities of director and those of shareholders, and how director may delegate powers to a community which is obliged to follow the set procedures.

Form 10:

In this article, Sports-group is expected to have chosen its company's director(s) and secretary (if desired) under the statutes of Companies Act 2006. The group provides names, addresses, nationalities, dates of birth, and any previous posts of directorship within the last 5 years of the director(s). The former attributes applies to company's secretary if described in article of association. Also an address of the company's registered office is provided in details and the form is signed and dated by appointed officers and agents.

Form 12:

This is the last document where Sports-group declares compliance “which confirms that all the legal requirements relating to the formation of a company has been complied with” (Companies House, 2009). This form is signed by a director or an individual evidently shown that he/she is signing in aid of a director; in the presence of an eligible person such as commissioner of oaths, justice or a solicitor. Form 12 is signed after all the above forms are completed.

Subsequent to the registration of the company at the Companies House, it is of the essence Sports-group notify their local HM Revenue and Customs Office to provide information upon the existence of the company.

Intellectual Property:

As one of the students has seen a trademark in Canada, there are legal issues that have to be addressed whilst considering the trademark usage. And such issues are addressed as follows since the trademark was seen in Canada:

If the trademark is registered in Canada then it depends if the company has registered its mark in foreign trademark registrations (Trade Mark Law in Canada); Sports-group ought to verify this with trade mark registrar in UK. The group can use the application Find Trade Marks from Intellectual Property Office website to be knowledgeable about the existence of the trademark in UK or use Free Search service from Trademark Logo website to search for the trademark in Europe. If the trademark is not registered in Europe then Sports-group can use the mark.

However, it is also vital for Sports-group to search if there is a company name existing with the same trademark in UK and Europe so as not to be subjected with trademark infringement and any possible actions taken against unless the name is used for different services. As described above, not only registered marks or company names have legal protections, but also reputable names, hence this factor ought to be considered as well.

The subsequent paragraphs explicate about usage of given domain names as Sports4living's domain name. Several searching tools from Nominet and Network Solutions, and Find Trade Marks from Intellectual Property Office website are used to determine the existence of the respective domain names or trademark respectively:

www.sportinglifeuk.com:

According to the search done, this domain name is available for use. But since Sports-group intend to conduct their business within Europe, it is not advisable for it to use generic top level domain name (ICANN). Sports-group can use this domain name as www.sportinglifeuk.co.uk.

www.pumastars.com:

The search deduces there is no similar or identical domain name registered. But as the previous domain name, this domain name is a generic top level domain name hence Sports-group can not be advised to use the domain name. Additionally, Sports-group can not use the domain because there is a registered trademark, puma. Using pumastars, Sports-group will be subjected to trademark infringement under Trademark Act 1994 sec 10 (2). The Act articulates that when the sign used is similar to the trade mark and is used in relation to goods or services identical with or similar to those for which the trade mark is registered, then a company using the sign is subjected to trademark infringement.

www.sportsworld.co.uk:

This domain name is registered by Technique Limited and the company was established in 1980; it was last updated on 24th December, 2008. Registering this domain, Sports-group will be subjected to infringement under Trademark Act 1994 sec 10(3) as the domain name is identical. Though Sportsworld Group Limited vends different services, it has a reputation across UK and US. (Sportsworld).

Section 3:

Privacy and Data Protection:

The European Convention of Human Rights sec 18(1) states that, “Everyone has a right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence”. As the internet inflates, more and more personal data is being collected by the suppliers, hence it is essential for privacy and protection of such information to be contemplated.

Acknowledging privacy and data protection will create awareness on how personal data should be handled as far as data subjects are concerned and additionally preserve customers' privacy. Individuals are cosseted from other party when their personal information is accessed erroneously, in unauthorized access and usage of their information on the contrary of the purpose of collection (Bott, 2005). Data Protection Act 1998 enacts privacy and data protection in the UK. This act is enforced by Information Commissioner's office (ICO).

When setting up an online business, the respective company needs to abide with several set of regulations as stated by the UK data protection legislation. The set of regulations are explained as follows:

Notification:

Before collecting any personal data, Sports-group ought to notify the Information Commissioner's Office concerning their processes on personal data of their customers (ICO). The notification describes name and address of Sports-group, depiction of the data that is expected to be held, data subjects' categories and also the purpose as to why Sports-group will collect respective information (Data Protection Act 1998, sec 16(1)). Furthermore, a notification describes the third parties (countries outside Europe), to whom the data will be divulged to, to which the collected data will be transferred to and for what purpose.

Compliance with the Data Protection Principles:

Data Protection Act 1998 sec 4(4) states that “it shall be the duty of a data controller to comply with the data protection principles in relation to all personal data with respect to which he is the data controller”. There are 8 data principles Sports-group are obliged to comply such as holding relevant data for purpose and kept only for as long as necessary and not excessive, fair and lawful processing of the data, access to data should be granted only to authorized users and if necessary then data can be transferred to other countries with the same level of data protection outside EU, processed data should be accurate and up-to-date and data should be processed in accordance to individual rights.

Notification to users:

In their website, Sports-group should notify users on how their personal information is collected and how it will be used (ICO).

Sports-group website policy-main issues addressed:

Implementation of Data Protection Act 1998: the policy will give the visitors awareness that regulations of Data Protection Act are being implemented in the respective website.

Information on Personal Data:

the website policy will describe what type of information concerning the customers is collected by Sports-group and how this information is collected. Furthermore, describe the purpose of collecting such information respectively. If it is essential for Sports-group to disclose customers' information to a 3rd party, then the customer will be contacted before this is done to give his/her consent.

Under Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations 2003, Sports-group will create awareness to customers upon the cookies usage. This includes how the company will make use of cookies to collect their information and also give a customer an option of blocking and delete cookies whenever he/she visits the website.
To learn about the patterns in which customers visits the website, technologies used by the customers and several links made by the customer while visiting the website; Sports-group will have to keep records such as IP addresses and internet domains of the customers. This information will be provided as well and how the IP addresses will be used by the company.

Under Data Protection Act 1998 sec 7, the policy will notify the customers on their rights to request a copy of information held by the company about them. This copy can be requested via provided means of contacting the company.

Copyright:

The policy will express about what is copyrighted in the website. Since sports-group will provide sports equipments from different vendors, it is expected to publish images/trademarks of those vendors. Hence it is imperative to advise customers concerning Trade Marks Act 1994, and Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, and infringements of copyrights and trademarks.

Advice to the subsequent issues respectively:

Sports-group yearns for sending a large number of customers' information to research companies:

The first data protection principle of Data Protection Act (DPA) 1998 states that data should be “Fairly and lawfully processed”. Disclosing customers' information to research companies can be deemed as fairly but only if there is an express consent from the respective customers to do so. Sports-group can also consider including this disclosure in their privacy policy since a large number of customers' information is required. Sports-group also ought to depict to what kind of researches that customers' information will be subjected to.

Request for customers' to state their racial identities:

The third data protection principle of DPA 1998 states that: “Personal data shall be adequate, relevant and not excessive in relation to the purpose or purposes for which they are processed”. Sports-group conducting online business selling sports equipment does not require racial identity of its customers. Hence it is a violation of the act to make aforementioned request, therefore Sports-group is not advised to request customers' racial identities as it will be subjected to violation of DPA 1998.

Section 4:

Advertising and Marketing:

Sports4Living ltd Advertisement:

The above advertisement is regulated by the Trade Description Act (TDA) 1968 and CAP (Committee of Advertising Practice) codes which set out the standards through which advertisements are regulated. These standards are enforced by Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) and the Office of Fair Trading (OFT).

Factors considered from the above regulations include:

the advertisement' design is moral; it does not cause any unfair competitions to other companies conducting the same business and also transparent. The above advertisement is design to create awareness to citizens in Europe (where the company intends to have its market) about Sports4living as an online company.

Advice on the legality of:

Direct Marketing:

As defined in Data Protection Act (DPA) 1998, direct marketing is “the communication (by whatever means) of any advertising or marketing material which is directed to particular individuals.” Before sports-group can send ads' emails to athletes, the following ought to be considered as explained in The Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003 sec 22(3):

Ø The emails sent should only concern the services that sports-group are offering.

Ø Athletes have given their consent upon receiving the mails (opt-in).

Ø Sports-group will send the emails to merely athletes who have provided their emails in the course of sale of services or products.

Furthermore, The British Code of Advertising, Sales Promotion and Direct Marketing states that: “E-mail and mobile marketing communications should contain the full name and a valid address (e.g. an e-mail address) of the marketers to which recipients can send opt-out requests” (sec 22.2).

Failure to comply the aforementioned regulations, Sports-group will be subjected to £5,000 fine and any action taken against them in court.

Monthly online lottery: As described in Gambling Act 2005; this is a “customer lottery” which is an exempt of illegal lotteries. In this kind of a lottery Sports-group ought to oblige to several regulations stated in Gambling Act sec 258 in virtue of part 3. Sports-group is allowed to run a lottery only in its website and advertise only in its website. Since Sports-group wishes to expand its business to Europe, then it will be imperative to describe customers from which geographical locations can participate. Moreover, only customers of Sports-group are participants in the lottery, and tickets should be sold to them only when they are within business premises of Sports-group. No profit is to be made in this kind of a lottery as the lottery is assumed to serve only for the purpose of promotions.

Lottery tickets are expected to be supplied only be Sports-group or on behalf of it as documents. Tickets must explicitly state the name of the company and also its address; age limits of customers allowed to participate which is at least 16 yrs of age described as a child in sec 45 (1). However Sports-group must explicate that “The rights conferred by the sale or supply of a ticket in a customer lottery shall not be transferable (and any purported transfer shall be treated by the promoter of the lottery as being ineffective)”, as stated in Sec 258 in virtue of Part 3. Tickets must also show the price payable for the tickets and the prices must be paid to Sports-group. Section 258 also describes that “It must not be possible for the purchaser of a ticket in a customer lottery to win by virtue of that ticket more than £50 (whether in money, money's worth, or partly the one and partly the other).”

Subsequently, the lotteries must not include any rollovers. Failure to comply any of the aforementioned, Sports-group will be subjected to violation of the Act in use.

Advertising incomplete Prices online: “Traders who mislead the public by giving false or misleading indications as to the price of their goods, or indulge in dubious price comparison, have long been the target of consumer protectionists” (Bragg, 1988). It is an offence for Sports-group to indicate false prices to its customers. It can be subjected to a fine on conviction on indictment or a fine not exceeding statutory maximum (Consumer Protection Act 1987, sec 20(4)) if found guilty of an offence of sec 20(1) or (2) of the Act.

Furthermore, article 15(2) of the CAP code states that: “Prices quoted in marketing communications addressed to the public should include VAT and other non-optional taxes and duties imposed on all buyers”. Section 3 of the same article explains subsequently that costumers should be made aware of any obligations associated if the price of one product depends on the purchase of another product.

Trade Description Act 1968, sec 11(1) also states that, any person supplying goods or services indicates untruthful prices is guilty of an offence.

Section 5:

Professionalism and Ethics:

In running a business, there are several situations occurring which demand accurate decision making. Professionalism can be defined as a characteristic in which several professionals, such as lawyers, doctors, computer scientists and accountants; have their codes of conduct in practicing their professions.

Ethics can be defined as a set of theories through which one can act with an intention of doing the right thing. There are two main ethical theories which provide guidance in decision making. The first theory is Utilitarianism, which can also be presented as a principle of beneficence (Rainbow, 2002). In this theory the main concern is on the outcome of the decision; example stealing from a pharmacy to save one's life is regarded as the right thing to do.

The second theory is Kantianism, where the main concern is on obligations (Rainbow, 2002). Acting in this theory is fulfilling one's obligations, and normally a Kantian will comply with law in his/her actions. Example: stealing from a pharmacy is wrong independent of the reasons or consequences after stealing.

When making decisions, professions are anticipated to act professionally and ethically. The two terms are discussed as follows:

Professionally:

Being a profession, there are several codes of conduct in which professions are obliged to follow in their respective professions. These codes can be generally mentioned in four sections: Public Interest, Duty to the Relevant Authority, Duty to the Profession and Professional Competence and Integrity (Bott, 2005 pg 26-28).

§ Public Interest requires decision makers to “be aware of, and to comply with, relevant aspects of law and other forms of regulation” (Bott, 2005 pg 27).

§ Duty to the Relevant Authority is to abide by the organization or employer. This is explained in three aspects: Elude conflicts which might be caused by making decisions basing on personal interests. Second aspect is truthfulness. As a profession, one needs to be honest in all circumstances and shun perversions. Lastly is the concern on confidentiality, whether confidential information about respective organizations or clients.

§ Duty to the Profession compels professionals to act in their professions, preserving their reputations and also reputations of peer professionals in the same field.

§ Lastly, Profession Competence and Integrity oblige profession to develop their professions by being up to date and also being truthful as well about their professions.

The latter requires professions to be honest in what they can and can not do.

Ethically: Rainbow, 2005 explains ethics and its theories as “the viewpoints from which guidance can be obtained along the pathway to a decision”. In running a business, one need to consider an ethical view of decisions made. As described above, there are two main theories of ethics which provide guidance in making decisions. Other theories include Rights where the rules set by a community are given highest priority; Virtue where one makes a decision considering his/her own character depending on morals, motivations and reputations; lastly is Casuist where before a decision is made depending on the same or similar situations in retrospect and their outcome (Rainbow, 2005).

Acting in an ethical manner (doing the right thing) is advantageous when conducting business. Trust between two parties (customer and seller), is an important aspect in business, “There are many aspects of ethics that can affect electronic commerce systems, but perhaps the most notable and worrying to both consumers and developers is that of trust (Leitch and Warren, 2001). As far as online business is concerned, customers expect sellers to treat their personal information with dignity and prioritize their privacy example in the usage of cookies. Leitch and Warren (2001) describe self-regulation as being intricate when conducting businesses. There are issues such as Privacy and Data protection being regulated by laws, Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations 2003 for the former; and the latter being regulated by the 8 principles of Data Protection Act 1998. However, individuals are anticipated to administer their conducts in an ethical manner, and act with morality.

Ethical Concerns on:

Keeping track of consumers' buying habits:

Technologies such as the use of cookies have widely been used to collect information about customers as they surf the internet. Use of cookies can be described in a privacy policy of a particular website, but a large number of customers are unaware of how cookies are used to track their information (Buchanan, 2004 pg 139). Buchanan explains further, that “Data Exchange” is used also by Marketing Staff (Leitch and Warren, 2001) to get information among organizations.”

Taking into consideration of the theory of Kantianism;

“companies would not track the behavior of their customers because of their duty to do right by these customers” (Caudill and Murphy, 2000). Supporting this theory, an ethical theory of Virtue where in making decisions, balance needs to be achieved among marketers, organizations and consumers' privacy for the system to work efficiently (Caudill and Murphy, 2000). Hence it can be deduced that, it can be ethical and yet lawful (Data Protection Principle) if consumers will be given an option of allowing their information to be tracked.

Selling of products made using cheap labor in developing countries:

There are several concerns which can be raised from this action. The first concern is in a perspective of the laborers in developing countries, this action is not beneficial to them. Global issues (2006), raised concerns such as the exploitation of the developing countries; their citizens are made labors for overseas corporations and paid in minimum wages, why not being labors of their own market? Corporations in UK have been reported using cheap labor in developing countries such as Primark (using cheap labor in UK) and Nike using cheap labor in South East Asia (Global issues, 2006). This also expands the gap between the developed and developing countries because these goods are obtained from cheap labor and sold in higher prices here in UK. “An industrialized product-exporting/commodity-importing country is wealthy and an undeveloped product-importing/commodity-exporting country is poor (emphasis added)” (Smith, 2003).

The second perspective is on the side of customers here in UK. The quality of goods made from cheap labors, does not match the price of the goods. Customers expect high-quality goods as they purchase them. Furthermore, the Sale of Goods Act 1979 sec 14 compels the sellers to supply the goods that are in a quality and fit for purpose.

Selling of exercise equipments rumored to be unsafe:

In consideration of Kantianism theory, selling unsafe products can be described as a wrongful act as far as consumers are concerned. Since the products are rumored to be unsafe, it is an obligation of the company to provide an assurance of the goods. The General Product Safety Regulations 2005 sec 5, requires producers and distributers neither to place any product nor services in the market unless their safety is proven. Furthermore, selling of aforementioned equipments can tarnish the reputation of the company.

Monitoring employees using Computer softwares and CCTV secretly: The use of CCTV and any monitoring softwares is regulated by the Data Protection Act 1998 and CCTV code of practice (ICO). Regulations involved in operating CCTV are described below as depicted by ICO:

* Images must be adequate to fit the purpose of placing CCTV in an organization and their integrity perceived.

* Monitoring devices must target only points of interest as portrayed in the purpose of operating CCTV, and conversations ought not to be recorded.

* Images must be maintained only for as long as necessary, otherwise destroyed.

* Only if it is of necessity for the images to be disclosed, then it should be done carefully and only authorized staff should have access to the images.

* Employees have a right to know that they are being surveyed, and a right to have access to their images. Sec 10 of DPA 1998 bestows employees a right to prevent their images taken by monitoring devices and sec 12 of The Act allots employees a right to avert any automated decision making based on the images.

This action can be considered as unethical from the law point of view, and also taking into consideration Kantianism theory that secret surveillance of employees is wrongful.

Section 6:

Advice on Online Medical Services:

There are several issues that rise concern in online medical services, such issues include: Are the doctors prescribing drugs licensed? Are the drugs pure and of proven quality? Will online consultation lead to correct prescription of drugs without physical contact? Is Confidentiality and Protection of Data considered?

As Sports-group desires to implement online medical services, several issues need to be considered. This paper will address such issues from legal and ethical perspectives as follows:

Legal:

In UK, General Medical Council (GMC) is used to provide several regulations in medical practices. There are several set of standards in which doctors are supposed to implement such as “Make the care of your patient your first concern, Protect and promote the health of patients and the public, Treat patients politely and considerately, Respect patients' right to confidentiality” (GMC, 2006). As it has been observed, online consultations diminish the good medical practices set to professional doctors (George et al, 2008, pg 5).

Taking into consideration confidentiality aspect; “Patients have a right to expect that information about them will be held in confidence by their doctors” (GMC, 2006 Paragraph 37). Before consultation, customers fill out forms in which they provide their personal data and medical histories expecting that this information will be treated in confidentiality. Due to the unsecure nature of the internet, it is relatively intricate to ensure that this information is not accessed by unauthorized parties.

Moreover, Data Protection Act 1998, states that: “Appropriate technical and organizational measures shall be taken against unauthorized or unlawful processing of personal data and against accidental loss or destruction of, or damage to, personal data.” The medical information provided by customers is regarded as sensitive personal data by The Act and needs to be handled with elite care.

Hence online consultations rise legal issues which need to be addressed by the practitioners. Since Sports-group desire to provide a medium for customers to get in touch with the doctors online, it is in a high probability of being liable to any offence. Hence online practitioners and Sports-group ought to consider the addressed issues regarding online medical services.

Ethical:

Practicing medicine requires doctors to act in ethical manners; it is imperative for Sports-group, providing a medium which will connect its customers to online doctors, to ensure implementations of these manners.

George et al (2008, pg 10-14) describes several responsibilities of doctors from the bases of Hippocratic Oath as, “Trust, Confidentiality, Prevention of Harm and Justice, and Patients' Best Interest.”

Patients entrust doctors with their personal and sensitive information, together with expectations of being treated with care and responsibly. Doctors are as well expected to appreciate this trust to form a trustful and successful doctor-patient relationship.

Paragraph 21(d) of GMC 2006; confer guidance to doctors, to respect privacy and confidentiality of their patients. It is unethical for doctors to disclose their patients' information to other parties unnecessarily and without patients' consent to disclosure.

Since the doctors will be able to advice customers as well as prescribing drugs, doctors are anticipated to give advice basing on the best of their knowledge. So as to prevent any harm or Tort committed as a result of given advice or prescribed drugs.

Moreover, as the doctors receive customers' forms expressing their medical predicaments, they are presumed to act in patients' best interests.

To conduct online consultations, Sports-group ought to take into consideration the aforementioned factors.

Selling drugs on line has been proven to be the easiest option consumers prefer because it is considerably effortless to get prescribed drugs online. The Medicine Act 1968 (as amended) explains regulations binding the sale and advertisements of medicinal products. The drugs described can be grouped in three categories: First are the drugs only prescribed by a medical practitioner, second are drugs which can be prescribed by pharmacist and third are general sale list drugs.

The Act provides provision as drugs under general list “can with reasonable safety be sold or supplied otherwise than by or under the supervision of, a pharmacist” (Part 3, sec 51). And drugs which are not under general list shall neither be sold nor supplied unless:

* “that person is, in respect of that business, a person lawfully conducting a retail pharmacy business;

* the product is sold, offered or exposed for sale, or supplied, on premises which are a registered pharmacy; and

* that person, or, if the transaction is carried out on his behalf by another person, then that other person, is, or acts under the supervision of, a pharmacist” (Sec 52 of The Act).

Furthermore, The Act in sec 58 prohibits individuals to sell or supply prescription drugs unless it is under an order from an appropriate medical practitioner.

From the above sections, Sports-group can only sell the drugs which are specifically prescribed by licensed practitioners and other general list drugs under a supervision of a licensed pharmacist.

Advertising drugs online is strictly prohibited under Part 3 of The Medicines (Advertising) Regulations 1994. Section 7 of this part prohibits any one to issue advertisements which leads customers to usage of prescription drugs. Under this section, Sports-group will be guilty of an offence if it will issue advertisements of prescription drugs. Furthermore, section 8 of part 3 of The Act prohibits other contents to be included in drugs' advertisements such as guaranteeing the effects of taking the product, describing that the product is the best with no side-effects as well as mentioning that the product has been granted a license.”

Sports-group can not as well be advised to import drugs from overseas because it is against the law. Section 7(3) of The Medicine Act 1968 (as amended) states: “No person shall import any medicinal product except in accordance with a product license”. Additionally, Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) requires importers to hold relevant licenses before importing and notify MHRA concerning the intention of importing drugs in accordance of The Medicines for Human Use Regulations 2005. MHRA does not consider cost to be the reason of importing drugs; hence Sports-group will be acting against the regulations set by importing drugs from overseas for the reason of cheap prices.

Conclusion:

The growth of internet as a communication medium (Reed, 2004) has raised many legal and ethical concern, in a way that governments in different countries has enacted laws to control the use of the internet. Through the use of internet, issues such as confidentiality, privacy, identities, and even purposes of using the internet; has been of great concern. As addressed in this paper, setting up an online business necessitates consideration of several regulations. Sports-group ought to enforce these regulations set by the UK government and other associations powered by the government.

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