$90 million fine for illegal Internet prescriptions

The State Board of Pharmacy for California has fined a Los Angeles pharmacy and two of its doctors $90 million after an investigation discovered over 3,500 illegal prescriptions that had been provided to customers purchasing drugs via the Internet.

It is the first time the state has used the powers granted to it in the Medical Practice Act. This new legislation gives the Board of Pharmacy the authority to impose fines of up to $25,000 for every illegal prescription made.

The board is therefore claiming $54.9 million from Total Remedy and Prescription Center II, $33.1 million from Barry Irvin, a co-owner of the pharmacy and $697,500 from pharmacist William Charles Packer.

According to Patricia Harris, executive officer of the State Board of Pharmacy, the prescriptions were predominately provided for "lifestyle" drugs, such as Viagra and Propecia. Customers who supplied their credit card number and filled in a questionnaire on the Internet were able to purchase the drugs.

Ms Harris explained that doctors not licensed in California who did not even have access to the patient's medical records then wrote the prescriptions.