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Record-Breaking Internet Pharmacy Prosecution Nets Millions for Iowa Law Enforcement
Date:6/10/2009

6-Year Federal Investigation Results in 26 Convictions, Forfeiture of Over $7 Million, and Sharing of Over $4 Million in Dubuque, Cedar Rapids, and Des Moines Areas

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa, June 10 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- On March 24, 2003, a corner drugstore in Dubuque, Iowa, dispensed 90 diet pills to a California woman based upon an Internet prescription from a doctor in Mississippi. Six years and over 30 million pills later, a nationwide federal investigation of two illegal Internet pharmacies has resulted in the conviction of that doctor and 25 other defendants, and the forfeiture of more than $7 million.

"This federal prosecution resulted in the most defendants ever convicted in an Internet pharmacy case in the United States. The help of local law enforcement agencies on the case also has led to the largest forfeiture sharing ever in the Northern District of Iowa, with area drug task forces receiving over $4 million to spend on local law enforcement," said United States Attorney Matt M. Dummermuth.

In September 2003, a federal and local law enforcement team executed a search warrant at the Union Family Pharmacy (now under different ownership) in Dubuque, Iowa. Agents recovered evidence Union Family Pharmacy had unlawfully dispensed over 1.1 million prescription pain, diet and psychiatric pills over a six-month period for two Internet companies, Pharmacom International Corporation (Pharmacom) and Medical Web Services (MWS).

Both companies recruited physicians to review drug orders placed by customers over the Internet. There was no physical examination, no preexisting doctor/patient relationship, and rarely any communication of any kind between the physicians and the Internet customers. In the vast majority of circumstances, the Internet customer's identity was never verified, nor were any medical record
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SOURCE U.S. Department of Justice
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