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Commonly Asked Questions
The United States Attorney’s Office and the Criminal Division of the U.S. Department of Justice prosecute controlled substances violations when pharmaceuticals are ordered and distributed illegally.
A bill introduced in 2005 to crack down on Internet pharmacies required doctors to conduct an in-person patient evaluation before prescribing medications. The law, known as the Ryan Haight Act, passed in 2008. This federal statute is named after a teenager who died of an overdose of controlled substances obtained over the Internet. The Ryan Haight Act regulates not only Internet pharmacies, but also the distribution over the Internet of controlled substances.
The Ryan Haight Act defines an “online pharmacy” as a person, entity, or Internet site, whether in the United States or abroad, that knowingly or intentionally delivers, distributes, or dispenses a controlled substance by means of the Internet.
The Ryan Haight Act further imposes registration and reporting requirements on online pharmacies that dispense 100 or more prescriptions or 5,000 or more dosage units of all controlled substances combined in one month. An online pharmacy must: (1) display specified information on its Internet home page, including a statement that it complies with the requirements of the Ryan Haight Act, its name, address, and telephone number, the qualifications of its pharmacist-in-charge, and a certification of its registration under the Ryan Haight Act; (2) comply with state laws for the licensure of pharmacies in each state in which it operates or sells controlled substances; and (3) notify the Attorney General and applicable state boards of pharmacy 30 days prior to offering to sell, deliver, distribute, or dispense controlled substances over the Internet.
Further, the Act increases the penalties associated with violations of laws regarding the illegal dispensing of pharmaceuticals. Depending on the severity of the offense, the Act calls for fines up to $5 million and imprisonment of up to 30 years for violations of the Act.
If you are under investigation or have been charged with a violation involving an Internet pharmacy, you should contact an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately. You may contact Marc Neff to schedule a confidential consultation at (215) 563-9800 or email at Marc@nefflawoffices.com.