Illegal Online Pharmacies in Michigan: Crimes, Penalties & Defense

Computer and gavel depicting illegal online pharmacies

Have you ever purchased prescription medications from online pharmacies or been marketed-to by an online pharmacy?

With more Americans taking prescription medications and the opioid crisis in full swing, the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) is taking action against online pharmacies.

In 2015, over 1,000 of these shady businesses were targeted for selling things like expired or counterfeit medications and unapproved medical equipment.

How can online pharmacies skirt the laws?

To make easy money, some online pharmacies will attempt to sell opioids without a prescription or using a doctor who will write one for a patient he’s never seen in person.

These businesses disregard the safety of customers completely, selling contaminated drugs, those that are expired or fake drugs.

After 18-year-old Ryan Haight died in 2001 of a Vicodin overdose from an illegal online pharmacy, Congress passed the Ryan Haight Online Pharmacy Consumer Protection Act of 2008.

It is an amendment of the Controlled Substances Act, and it states: “no controlled substance that is a prescription drug as determined under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act may be delivered, distributed, or dispensed by means of the Internet without a valid prescription.”

Online Pharmacy Consumer Protection Act

Violations of this act could result in a prison sentence of 20 years or more. Therefore, the law lays out provisions to keep online pharmacy owners safe from prosecution:

Pharmacies must be licensed in the United States and the state in which they are operated.

The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) makes this information available.

  • Pharmacies must employ a licensed pharmacist.
  • Pharmacy websites must have a Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Site seal.

In addition, pharmacies must:

  • Require a valid prescription from the customer’s doctor and not a doctor employed by the pharmacy before customers can purchase a prescription drug.
  • Require one face-to-face medical evaluation for patients who have a controlled substance prescription.
  • Follow registration requirements set out by the law.
  • Include website information disclosure agreements.
  • Follow all prescription reporting requirements set out by the law.

Illegal Sale of Prescription Drugs

If a website claiming to be an online pharmacy doesn’t have evidence of all these things, you run the risk of getting potentially dangerous drugs.

Additionally, if you are caught selling drugs through an illegal pharmacy online, you run the risk of spending many years in prison.

Running an illegal pharmacy is different than selling illegal drugs or illegally selling prescription drugs.

However, you could incur charges relating to illegally selling prescription drugs through an online pharmacy.

These would be trafficking or distribution charges. Some common actions associated with illegal pharmacies are:

  • A doctor writing an unnecessary prescription or one that is for a higher amount of drugs than the patient needs
  • Giving or selling a valid prescription to someone else
  • Someone without a license writing prescriptions or selling prescription drugs
  • A pharmacist knowingly filling a fraudulent prescription.

Aggressive Criminal Defense Attorney in Michigan

If you are or a loved one is facing charges related to online pharmacies or illegally selling prescription drugs, please call my office today for your free consultation. Let’s get your name cleared and your life back!

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