News and Press Releases

Pharmacy Owner Supplied Narcotics to Customers through Illegal Internet Ordering

March 26, 2008

CHARLES S. REED, 55, of Mount Vernon, Washington, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Seattle today to Acquiring a Controlled Substance by Misrepresentation and Subterfuge . REED, the owner of Horen’s Drugs in Burlington, Washington, admitted that he lied to his drug supplier, Cardinal Health, and did not disclose that he was filling prescriptions over the internet. When sentenced on June 20, 2008, by U.S. District Judge Richard Jones, REED faces up to four years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

According to the plea agreement filed today, REED was disciplined in 2003 for filling prescriptions over the internet that were not based upon a valid doctor-patient relationship and were being issued in violation of law. REED agreed to stop filling such internet prescriptions. In 2007, REED began filling internet prescriptions once again. The web sites were all acting in violation of law, approving prescriptions which were not based upon a valid patient physician relationship as is required by Washington and federal law. No authorizing physician utilized by the web sites ever met any of the customers for whom they were prescribing such drugs. Customers simply filled out an online questionnaire, and on occasion, submitted supposed medical records to the web site without ever meeting or interacting with the physician dispensing the prescription. Web sites with whom the defendant contracted, and whose customers the defendant serviced, included “the medicine place .com”, “1stop pain shop .com”, “buy direct rx .com” and “fox family meds .com.”

Virtually all of the prescriptions filled by REED for the web sites were for quantities of hydrocodone, a highly addictive narcotic controlled substance. In fact, his pharmacy was the number one supplier of hydrocodone in Washington State in 2007. REED supplied written statements to his drug supplier, Cardinal Health indicating that he was not supplying drugs via the internet and was not shipping drugs out of state. In fact he was shipping drugs to almost every state in the U.S. In late November 2007, REED voluntarily gave up his DEA license when he became aware of the DEA investigation of his dispensing practices.

The case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Ron Friedman.

For additional information please contact Emily Langlie, Public Affairs Officer for the United States Attorney’s Office, at (206) 553-4110.

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