Oklahoma Physician, Pharmacist Indicted for Illegally Selling Prescription Drugs Online
A physician and a pharmacist in Oklahoma were indicted last week by a federal grand jury for allegedly conspiring to sell "controlled and dangerous" substances over the Internet, the Daily Oklahoman reports. Federal prosecutors allege that Dr. Ricky Joe Nelson and Jerry Shadid unlawfully provided consumers with prescription drugs "outside the course of usual medical practice and without a legitimate medical purpose." According to the indictment, Nelson wrote prescriptions for patients he had never met, after reviewing questionnaires they filled out on NationPharmacy.com, a Web site maintained by Main Street Pharmacy in Norman, Okla. Prosecutors allege that Shadid received the prescriptions via the Internet, filled them and mailed the drugs to patients. Patients paid the pharmacy, which then paid Nelson for each prescription. The Internet sales reportedly produced substantial profits for the participants; prosecutors are seeking forfeiture in the amount of $860,000. Both Nelson's and Shadid's licenses were revoked earlier this year, as was the license of Clayton Howard Fuchs, the owner of the Main Street Pharmacy. The pharmacy, which federal and state agents raided in February, is no longer open for business. Fuchs, however, is contesting the revocation of his license. According to his attorney, Fuchs did nothing wrong because a physician's authorization "gives the pharmacist the OK" to fill a prescription. Nelson, who is also accused of illegally laundering $175,000 through a bank in the West Indies, reportedly will plead not guilty to the criminal charges (Godfrey, Daily Oklahoman, 8/9).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.