An Illinois internet prescription malpractice case that I prosecuted beginning in 2004 opened my eyes to the widespread abuse of prescription drugs the internet facilitates. An unholy alliance has developed between physicians and the internet pharmacies that push drugs via spam e-mails and pay for click advertising. This is the first of what will become a continuing focus on the practice of physicians prescribing frequently abused drugs based solely on an on line questionnaire. This article is not meant to criticize or impede a patient with a lawful prescription from having it filled over the internet.
In April 2004, a 30 yr. old plastic salesman along with his newly pregnant wife had just moved into their new home in suburban Chicago. He was an active man who played golf and basketball regularly. He loved reading Dostoevsky and Hemmingway. His sales job required 70-hour work weeks and he drove over 60,000 miles per year servicing his customers. Stress was very high and his back was bothering him, but his family life and work prospects were promising.