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Internet Pharmacy Employees Arrested for Dispensing Drugs Without a Pharmacist

In a recent criminal case south of Jacksonville, Florida, the police were investigating a location from which prescription drugs like Hydrocodone and Oxycodone were being dispensed pursuant to internet orders with the involvement of a pharmacist. Police observed a warehouse and saw some employees loading packages into vehicles that were taken to local shipping businesses. The police officers spoke to the employees and learned that the packages contained prescription drugs that were ordered by people over the internet. The employees were taking the orders and prescriptions over the internet and then filling the prescriptions and shipping them out to customers. According to the employees, there was a pharmacist employed by the internet pharmacy, but he was not present very often and did not review all of the prescriptions and drug deliveries.

In Florida, it is a felony crime to manufacture, sell or deliver any drug that is habit forming or potentially unsafe except with a prescription and under the supervision of a practitioner licensed to dispense the drug. There are two primary requirements for dispensing prescription drugs that can be dangerous and addictive like Hydrocodone, Oxycodone and Oxcyontin- there must be a valid prescription, and the drugs must be dispensed by a pharmacist who reviews the prescription for potential side effects, drug interactions and proper dosages and usage.

In this case, the customers ordering the drugs over the internet apparently had valid prescriptions. However, the defendants who were selling and dispensing the drugs were not doing so under the supervision of a licensed pharmacist who was properly reviewing the prescriptions as required by Florida law. There was a pharmacist associated with the internet pharmacy, but that pharmacist was not reviewing every prescription. Because this was not done, the employees responsible for dispensing the drugs were charged and convicted of felony drug crimes.