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Date Posted: 04:02:03 10/11/03 Sat
Author: Scammer
Subject: Feds shut down drug sales at Davie pharmacy
In reply to: Billy The Kid 's message, "Scams: Pharmacist refutes U.S. allegations" on 07:31:17 10/04/03 Sat

Feds shut down drug sales at Davie pharmacy

By Bob LaMendola
Health Writer
Posted October 11 2003

Federal agents shut down part of a Davie pharmacy and seized boxes of pain medications on Friday, accusing the company of illegally peddling millions of powerful diet and sleeping pills via the Internet.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration raided C&H Wholesale Inc. and its Internet outlet, Lifeline Pharmacy, after an investigation that lasted at least six months, DEA documents show.

Both companies are owned in the same office by Frank and Amada Hernandez.

C&H sold at least 5.6 million doses of controlled substance pills to Internet pharmacies including Lifeline since May 2002, and Lifeline sold 2.9 million to online customers in less than three months this year, the DEA said in a complaint.

State pharmacy standards require doctors to see patients before writing a prescription.

But Lifeline mailed bottles of pills to patients who had merely filled out an online form, including an undercover agent who posed as a slender teenaged girl, the DEA said.

Doctors supposedly signed off on the prescriptions, but none ever saw the patients.

"Lifeline is dispensing prescriptions for controlled substances based on Internet orders that do not involve any personal contact," the DEA complaint said. "The owners, pharmacists and employees all have direct knowledge there is no legitimate physician/patient relationship."

C&H officials could not be reached for comment. The company issued a statement saying the operation exceeds the standards that its lawyers and clinical leaders consider proper, and saying the government has not been clear about the rules for online drug dispensing.

"To this date, the federal and state governments have provided insufficient guidance by which Internet pharmaceutical services can be administered," the statement said. "Yet it may well be the future of how health care prescriptions are filled."

The DEA complaint is not a criminal charge, it is a regulatory action. The agency suspended the company's federal license to deal in controlled substances, shut down that aspect of its operation and moved to revoke the license. The company has 30 days to appeal.

The two companies are at 5400 S. University Drive, the same Davie office building that is home to RX Network, an Internet pharmacy that had its state license suspended in June. That case is pending.

C&H opened in 1999 and became a high-volume wholesaler of the sleeping pill Ambien and diet pills including amphetamines and phentermine, the DEA said. Its main buyers were Internet pharmacies.

Lifeline opened in February and was filling 1,000 prescriptions a day from 50 online pharmacies related to the company, the DEA said. Agents posed as Internet buyers and obtained drugs easily within days.

In July, an agent filled out a form on www.speedyrx.com posing as Brittany, 17, who is 5-feet, 5 inches tall and 130 pounds, and ordered 90 Bontril diet pills, the DEA said. When the Web site responded that she was too thin to qualify, the agent changed the height to 5-feet tall and the order was filled.

The pills were approved by one of five doctors listed in Lifeline's roster and by a pharmacist employed by the company, the DEA said.

Bob LaMendola can be reached at blamendola@sun-sentinel.com or 954-356-4526.

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  • Hearing for Dubuque Pharmacy Continues -- Tom Barman, 04:04:37 10/11/03 Sat
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