The business of prescribing and shipping prescription medications over the internet has been used by physicians and pharmacists to ship medication out of state based solely on an online questionnaire. This can be and frequently is a violation of federal law, and if it is intentional it is a felony.
Many attorneys do not wish to get involved in cases where patients accidentally or intentionally overdose on these medications. There are several reasons for this reluctance. First, they frequently involve drug addicts whose personal physicians would never prescribe these medications. Second, the patient, physician, and pharmacist generally all live in different states and there are significant issues as to which states’ laws apply. These case can be and I have been bringing them in the federal courts with success.
These physicians, pharmacists and pharmacies are commonly committing felonies, namely the crime of misbranding, in violation of 21 U.S.C. 353(b), 21 U.S.C. 331(a) and (k). Pursuant to 21 U.S.C. 333(a)2 it is a felony if it is done with intent to defraud or mislead. Most of the websites state that the physicians and pharmacies are licensed in your local area. Few are licensed where the prescriptions are shipped.
A good analysis of misbranding can be found in U.S. v. Smith, 573 F.3d 639, 651 (8th Cir. 2009), where the Court of Appeals held a prescriptions is misbranded if it is not accompanied by some sort of physical examination of the patient. None of these websites offer or even contemplate the patient seeing a physician. They merely require an online questionnaire to be filled out, and. most importantly a credit card that clears. Prescriptions are frequently shipped that day or the next by Fed Ex.
Patients and their families are reluctant to come forward because the victim is commonly an addict. The physicians and pharmacists know this and rely on this hesitancy-but victims and families should step up and sue these professionals for the drug dealers that they are. After all, criminal prosecutions are instituted everyday against drug dealers selling drugs to addicts, why should these unethical and criminal professionals not be brought to justice and to have to answer financially for their criminal conduct. If you or a family member have received prescription drugs over the internet, and an overdose has occurred, feel free to contact Edmund Scanlan toll free at 877-494-1309 to discuss what actions may be taken. If nothing else you may be assured that they will not be repeating this conduct.