MDs, others face charges on Net pharmacy operation

A federal grand jury in San Diego has indicted 18 people on charges arising from a large-scale Internet pharmacy operation. The grand jury charged these individuals with racketeering, fraud and money laundering charges. It marks the first time racketeering charges have been filed in connection with an Internet pharmacy case.

According to the indictments, the pharmacy business, Affpower, sold about 700,000 prescriptions to customers using illegal prescriptions. The company generated $126 million in revenues during a two-year period ending in June 2006, according to a federal official involved with the case.

The indictment, which included 313 counts, included three doctors and two pharmacists from among the pool of defendants. The doctors' job was to give a quick look to online questionnaires filled out by Web site visitors, then approve and write prescriptions. The physicians got $3 for every form they reviewed.

To learn more about the charges:
- read this piece in the San Diego Union Tribune

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