Update: On June 23, 2011, Marks was sentenced to 51 months in prison for the Internet distribution of prescription drugs without valid prescriptions. Reports the DOJ, Marks made more than $1 million by selling controlled substances without prescriptions over the Internet. “At his guilty plea, Marks admitted to illegally distributing pain medications such as hydrocodone and stimulants such as Didrex, phendimetrazine and phentermine to customers who visited websites and ordered their drug of choice, including the dosage and quantity.”
A Pennsylvania pharmacist has been indicted for running an illegal online pharmacy.
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, pharmacist Stephen L. Marks had reportedly been warned to stop illegally selling prescription painkillers and diet drugs online by agents from the federal Drug Enforcement Agency. However, he reportedly ignored those warnings, according to the Patriot-News.
The DEA took issue with Marks’ business because his online pharmacy was sending drugs to people who did not have valid prescriptions for the medication.
Federal prosecutors said that not only did Marks not heed the warnings but also lied to DEA and FBI agents, as well as representatives from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
All of these things have lead to Marks’ indictment in U.S. Middle District Court on charges of conspiring to distribute controlled medications, distributing misbranded drugs, lying to federal agents and money laundering.
Authorities say that the illegal online pharmacy netted Marks $1.4 million, reports the news source.
The news source reports that the indictment says that Marks was part of a conspiracy involving a number of online pharmacies who allegedly paid doctors to write prescriptions of clients who had been found by telemarketers.
These phony prescriptions, written by a number of doctors in America and Puerto Rico, did not come as a result of a medical examination but were instead merely based on forms filled out by customers.
Prosecutors claim that between June 2004 and January 2006 Marks’ illegal online pharmacy distributed nearly 1 million pills of the painkiller hydrocodone and the diet drugs Didrex, phendimetrazine and phentermine to customers who did not have valid prescriptions for the medications they received.
In February 2005 DEA agents said they met with Marks and told him that the operation he was running was illegal and told him to not only stop filling the ill-gotten prescriptions but to also destroy his supply of unshipped drugs.
Prosecutors say that Marks told both the FBI and the FDA that he had destroyed the drugs in question when he had in fact kept them.
Marks is facing up to 35 years in prison and more than $1 million in fines for his illegal online pharmacy scheme, according to the news provider.
Drug consumers in America can be sure that they are purchasing their drugs from a reputable place when they visit licensed brick-and-mortar pharmacies in the U.S. or if they purchase their drugs from an online pharmacy that has been certified by the the Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites, or VIPPS, program or by checking the pharmacy’s status at www.legitscript.com.