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Internet Pharmacies Aren't Just for Drug Dealers Anymore

Nov 29, 2007
Everyone has seen the "Buy Viagra" email SPAM, less often now because of laws and SPAM filters than a few years ago. Seemingly innocent solicitations for male enhancement products is only a gateway.

With the high price of medicine and medical care, some are turning to Internet Pharmacies out of Canada to order lower priced, necessary drugs which are out of the US jurisdiction.

Often some are able to avoid the red tape and the minor inconvenience of needing a prescription from a doctor, or easily obtaining one fraudulently, to order from websites located in other countries.

That is not what this article is about though. This article is about those who set up a fake pharmacy by using a store front website as a rouse to legitimize their business. Why would one illegally create an Internet Pharmacy?

Four reasons are:
- To obtain large amounts of drugs no questions asked
- Get wholesale/discounted contract price
- To sell these drugs Worldwide on the Internet & locally on the street
- To make lots and lots of money

These fake pharmacy owners make false representations to manufacturers and distributors that they own/operate a pharmacy.

Falsely representing yourself as a pharmacy in order to obtain drugs for yourself is one allegation, but penalties are more severe for selling directly over the Internet, and even more severe for taking it to the street.

Some of the commonly obtained controlled substances are: hydrocodone, phentermine hydrochloride, alprazolam, and promethazine (in cough syrup form).

Labels are removed from these substances so regulators from the Drug Enforcement Administration and other law enforcement agencies cannot track the origin of the shipments. Warehouses are established to receive the shipments of the pharmaceuticals from manufacturers and distributors.

Sometimes these sites are not your typical drug dealer looking for effective ways to use technology, but instead are set up by ex-pharmacists or doctors working under the radar for some extra cash.

PC World, well known technology magazine, reported earlier this month the Department of Justice cracked down on a very popular illegal pharmaceuticals website and six men were charged with illegally distributing drugs through an Internet pharmacy. Their illegal business cost them a US$40 million dollar forfeiture of profit.

An online Des Moines newspaper gave more detail. Apparently after the 2003 raid of two of the pharmacists brick and mortar practice, authorities said customers paid much more than normal retail cost for the drugs, but could get them without undergoing proper examinations.

Many were willing to pay because of the high cost of doctor visits or to satisfy their addiction to pain medication.

They said numerous doctors improperly approved prescriptions. One can only assume the doctors were getting kickbacks for recommending the culprits' pharmacy over other local ones.

According to the paper, thirteen doctors have pleaded guilty to federal charges as part of the long-running investigation, and a 14th is expected to plead guilty next week. Several have been sentenced to prison.
About the Author
Neil Lemons represents Teakell Law. For more information on Internet Pharmacy charges, visit John Teakell's Federal law site www.FederalDefenseCases.com.
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