just a few clicks of your mouse, you could buy Viagra and
various medications for insomnia, hair loss, arthritis, and
weight reduction. In unlimited quantities, anytime you wanted.
Without prescriptions or doctor's visits or medical exams.
Just by filling out a quick-and ultimately bogus-online questionnaire.
simple and easy, yes. But also totally illegal. And the subject
of a massive undercover investigation called Operation Interpharm
led by the FBI, FDA, and DEA.
Ring Busted. On December 3, a 108-count indictment was
unsealed against three companies and ten individuals across
the country. Together, they allegedly set up a massive Internet
pharmacy ring that used dozens of web sites like www.get-it-on.com
to hawk dangerous and addictive drugs without the proper medical
supervision required by law. In the process, they dished out
millions of dosages and made more than $150 million.
Guilty Pleas. Ten days ago, physician Marvin J. Brown
and pharmacist Luke Coukos pled guilty in this case. Dr. Brown
authorized more than 22,000 prescriptions, yet never met with
a single patient, never performed an exam or took a patient
history, and didn't check the accuracy of medical information
provided. Coukos, who ran a pharmacy in Midlothian, Virginia,
dispensed more than 2.5 million pills, yet knew that customer's
identities were not being verified and that some customers
were buying massive amounts of drugs. Because so many prescriptions
were being filled, Coukos often did not even have time to
prepare and review them all.
the Newest Drug Pushers. As this operation highlights,
drug pushers today are no longer just thugs and misguided
youth hawking illegal drugs in abandoned buildings and back
alleys. They are doctors and pharmacists and business people
setting up illicit Internet pharmacies to sell all manner
of controlled substances with no consideration for the safety
of the consumer. Like drug dealers on the street, they are
breaking the law and endangering the public. Their goal is
not to promote health and well-being but to line their own
line: If you are buying controlled medications over the
Internet, make sure you are dealing with a licensed, certified
pharmacy and that you obtain the prescription from a physician
you personally know and trust. It is your own health and safety
that are on the line.
Health Care Fraud website | 12/4
press release | Indictment