Drug offenses are considered to be serious crimes by state and federal officials. In some cases, the federal government may prosecute a drug case instead of state or local authorities. It is essential for defendants to know all legal options available, especially when federal authorities are involved. Two Pennsylvania pharmacists are currently facing federal drug charges after a raid by several government agencies.
The DEA, FBI and IRS raided a Hellertown pharmacy and arrested a pharmacy owner and the head pharmacist late last month. The two stand accused of participating in a complex prescription drug scheme.
According to authorities, the illegal prescription sales were attributed to five websites that provided access to prescription drugs without consulting a physician in person. Customers filled out an online medical history and submitted the form to the website. The form would then be forwarded to a physician who would issue a prescription for the patient without ever having met them in person. The prescriptions would be filled at one of the pharmacies owned by one of the defendants.
The two pharmacists were not the only individuals named in the indictment. Three doctors and five website operators were also listed. The people involved face charges of mail fraud, wire fraud, money laundering, conspiracy and narcotics distribution. The two pharmacists face 88 years in prison each. It has been alleged that they made $13 million off of the scheme between 2010 and 2012.
Federal drug charges can be complex, and the prosecution is often vigorous. There can be serious consequences for those charged with the crimes that these pharmacists in this case face. It is important to understand all legal rights available under federal law when facing drug charges of this nature.
Source: WFMZ 69 News, “Hellertown pharmacists charged in alleged online drug scheme,” Jaccli Farris, Nov. 29, 2012