Illegal Pharmacies Attorney in Michigan


With the massive growth in e-commerce and online businesses in the last decade, many pharmacies have also moved online. Although there are many legal pharmacies with ethical and regulated practices on the web, it is important to remember that there are many more illegal pharmacies. In fact, back in 2015, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) took action against over a thousand online pharmacies selling unapproved prescriptions and medical equipment.

Often, these shady businesses are just trying to make easy money at the victim’s expense or sell medications that are counterfeit, expired, or contaminated. In some cases, the illegal pharmacy acted more like a drug dealer, pushing controlled substances like opioid painkillers without requiring a prescription (or using an unethical doctor to write prescriptions without seeing the patient).

If the FDA, FBI, or another federal agency has taken action against you or your online pharmacy, you need to consider the best federal defense lawyers in Michigan to protect your rights and fight to prove your innocence.

Ryan Haight Act of 2008

Back in 2001, an 18-year-old boy named Ryan Haight died of a Vicodin overdose; he had bought the prescription drugs online via an illegal pharmacy. As a result of this case, the US Congress passed the Ryan Haight Online Pharmacy Consumer Protection Act of 2008. This act 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.” The act is also an amendment to the Controlled Substances Act, and violations of the act could result in upwards of 20 years imprisonment.

To prevent illegal distribution of controlled substances online, this act added several provisions that may be important for online pharmacy owners, including:

  • A requirement of at least one face-to-face patient medical evaluation prior to issuance of a controlled substance prescription
  • Registration requirements for online pharmacies
  • Website information disclosure agreements
  • Prescription reporting requirements

Legal Online Pharmacies

Because of the many regulations for online pharmacies, it is important for website owners to keep up with federal laws. Some of the main aspects of a legal online pharmacy include:

  • The pharmacy is licensed in the United States as well as the state in which it is located. This information is available by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP).
  • The pharmacy has a licensed pharmacist.
  • The pharmacy requires a prescription from the customer’s doctor (not their own) before the customer can purchase a prescription drug.
  • The website has a Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites (VIPPS) seal.

Illegally Selling Prescription Drugs

The regulations of the Ryan Haight Act, as well as other federal laws, make registration and other processes a requirement for running a legal pharmacy. As mentioned, running an illegal pharmacy could result in years behind bars. It is also important to mention that illegally selling prescription drugs (not just counterfeit or expired drugs) could result in other penalties, such as those associated with trafficking or distribution.

Some specific actions involved with illegal online pharmacies include:

  • A person who doesn’t have a license to write prescriptions is selling or giving prescription drugs to another person (21 U.S.C. § 841(a))
  • A person has a valid prescription, but sells or gives prescription drugs to somebody else
  • A doctor, physician, or another person writes prescriptions that are not medically necessary or for an amount of drugs greater than the person actually needs
  • A pharmacist fills prescriptions knowing that they are fake or criminally produced

How a Defense Lawyer Can Help

When charged or under investigation for illegally selling prescription drugs or running an illegal pharmacy (whether online or elsewhere), it is always important to remember that the prosecution has the burden of proof. Often, to convict an alleged offender, the prosecution needs to prove that the defendant knowingly sold or gave (or agreed to sell or give) a prescription drug to someone who lacked a valid prescription. Furthermore, the prosecution must also prove that the defendant knowingly ran the illegal pharmacy without the intention of registering or proving that the online business was legal.

Contact the Criminal Defense Attorneys at Grabel & Associates Today

At Grabel & Associates, we will challenge the prosecution’s evidence, narrative, statements, and witnesses every step of the way. We ensure a full-service criminal defense and we will always put your interests at the forefront of our defense strategy. Moreover, once we take your case, our defense attorneys will devote extensive resources and investigation into the circumstances surrounding the alleged charges.

If you’ve been arrested or are under investigation, contact our criminal defense law firm as soon as possible. Call us today at 1-800-342-7896. Free consultations are available 24/7.