Dr. Charles McCool, a Pennsylvania doctor, was charged in Pennsylvania state court for prescribing controlled substances via an internet pharmacy to patients without a prior physical examination. Specifically, McCool was charged with one count of “unlawfully administering/dispensing/delivery of a controlled substance by a practitioner unless done in good faith in the course of his professional practice or within the scope of the patient relationship.”
McCool allegedly prescribed narcotics to five different Pennsylvania residents without conducting a “physical examination.” In one case, however, McCool conducted two 10 minute telephone consultations with a patient. It is unclear whether the internet pharmacy in question required any form of a health questionnaire; however, it allegedly did not require the patient to submit medical records.
The language of the above-charge is somewhat similar to the ambiguous language in the Controlled Substances Act and its associated regulations, prior to the Ryan Haight Act amendment, which defined a “valid prescription” as a prescription issued for a legitimate medical purpose and in the usual court of professional practice. One of the issues in Dr. McCool’s case will inevitably be what level of medical scrutiny is required under the Pennsylvania code.
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