A Richmond, Virginia, doctor named Torino Jennings is accused of signing up to 100,000 illegal prescriptions for the muscle relaxant Soma, as well as other drugs, over the past five years. The prescriptions are illegal because he issued them on behalf of an online pharmacy no prescription, without first examining the patients in person.
Many rogue online pharmacies aren’t technically “no prescription” pharmacies. They have physicians, like Jennings, who write prescriptions for patients based on what are called “remote consultations”. While the standards of remote-consultation pharmacies are generally higher than those of pharmacies that require no prescription, they do not meet the safety standards that you deserve and should demand as a patient.
Sometime back, the Washington Post ran a background check on remote-consultation physicians and reported —
A Colorado doctor had a history of alcohol abuse. An Arkansas doctor was being treated for bipolar disorder and drug dependency. A Florida doctor had twice been cited for providing inadequate care to elderly patients, one of whom died. A Texas doctor was under investigation by the FBI for suspected Medicare fraud and later committed suicide. A California doctor was disciplined for operating under a fictitious name. A North Carolina doctor had held 22 jobs in five years
When it comes to prescription requirements, there are three kinds of online pharmacies — two of which are both illegal and potentially dangerous:
1. No Prescription Pharmacies. Some Web sites will sell you prescription drugs (including controlled substances) without a prescription, a practice that is illegal in the United States. As eDrugSearch.com warns:
Pharmacies in the U.S. that sell controlled substances must have a specific license to do so from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). Furthermore, the Ryan Haight Act of 2008 requires patients to have an in-person exam before prescriptions for controlled substances can be filled through online and mail-order pharmacies. Yet there are pharmacies that fill orders for any type of drug without a prescription or even a consultation.
2. Remote-Consultation Pharmacies. Some consumers wish to purchase drugs without having to visit a physician in person — either for convenience, to save money, or (in some cases) to obtain medications they might otherwise be unable to obtain. Remote-consultation pharmacies prescribe medications based on the patient’s self-reported medical history. Explains eDrugSearch.com:
Online pharmacies that conduct remote consultations can be equally safe and reliable, especially for milder, lifestyle medications. Individuals submit relevant medical information, and a physician associated with the pharmacy reviews it to determine whether or not a prescription is appropriate. If so, the pharmacy fills the order. U.S. federal law forbids prescriptions for addictive, controlled substances through remote consultation. Additionally, remote prescriptions are entirely illegal in some states while others allow them only for non-controlled drugs. It’s important to know local laws before choosing this type of pharmacy.
3. Pharmacies Licensed by the U.S. or Canadian Government. Licensed online pharmacies require you to provide an original prescription, obtained from an in-person meeting with your physician. Licensed online pharmacies include major national chains, neighborhood pharmacies, and mail-order fulfillment centers in the United States and Canada.
The eDrugSearch.com database only includes licensed pharmacies that require an original doctor’s prescription, based on an in-person consultation. Click here to read our handy guide: Everything You Need to Know About Online and Mail-Order Pharmacies