Criminal Defense Attorney Analysis of Internet Pharmacy, Prescription, and Drug Law

Category: Doctors

On October 20, 2010, Dr. Enrique Rivera Mass pled guilty in the U.S. District Court of North Dakota to an Information alleging conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance via various online pharmacies.  Specifically, as part of the Plea Agreement, Dr. Rivera Mass acknowledged prescribing “at least 108,084 dosage units of a Schedule III controlled substance” and […]

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 […]

According to the Seattle Times, the home of Dr. Peter Pfeiffer, of Bellingham, Washington, was raided by DEA agents last Friday as a result of his alleged ties to an Internet pharmacy.  The search warrant alleged, among other things, that Pfeiffer was: writing “a very large number of prescriptions” for hydrocodone between November and February; […]

In December 2008, I reported on an internet pharmacy case, in which Colorado doctor Christian Hageseth was being prosecuted for “practicing medicine without a license in California.”  The charge stemmed from a 2005 prescription (Prozac)  issued to  Stanford student John McKay via, an online pharmacy.  McKay later committed suicide.  Last week Hageseth pled no contest and will […]

The judge in U.S. v. Hernandez (06-600027), a federal internet pharmacy trial in Florida (in its eighth week), has declared a mistrial, after numerous jurors admitted to doing their own internet research via their handheld phones during deliberations.  The jury was leaning towards an acquittal. This trial has certainly had its share of distractions.  Only a few weeks prior to […]

Ohio pharmacist Gary A. Evankovich was indicted for his alleged involvement with an internet pharmacy by a Mahoning County grand jury on 24 counts of “reckless retail sale of drug[s].”  The drug sales allegedly originated from the internet, and the prescriptions were signed by a New York doctor.  Prosecuting Attorney Robert Bush stated that Evankovich “illegally filled prescriptions […]

The St. Petersberg Times reports that Florida doctor Juan Ibanez was sentenced to four years yesterday for his association with an internet pharmacy organization (,,, and which distributed “more than 50 million hydrocodone pills” nationwide.  Between 2003-2007, the online pharmacy grossed more than $85 million from its sales of Vicodin.  Doctors did not perform face […]

I previously wondered whether the government would indict individuals involved in internet pharmacy operations after the passage of the Ryan Haight Act but before its 2009 effective date.  I now have my answer.  David A. Vogel, Jonathan Vogel and Carrie Demers were indicted in the U.S. District Court for East Texas for their alleged involvement in […]

One of the justifications for the Ryan Haight Act was that doctors performing face to face examinations can determine the veracity of a patient’s claim of chronic pain before prescribing medication much better than an internet pharmacy doctor performing an online consultation.  This is likely true with respect to internet pharmacies that do not require medical records […]

As I mentioned in my internet pharmacy criminal defense legal issues discussion, there are a number of hurdles the government must overcome to convict pharmacists for dispensing controlled substances (i.e. filling medication) without a valid prescription under The Controlled Substances Act.  A pharmacist might have no idea that the prescription was a result of an online consultation without […]