The Florida Attorney General announced a lawsuit against Internet pharmacy DirectDietPills.com for engaging in a “bait and switch” scheme. (We put DirectDietPills.com on our unapproved list some time ago.)
According to WMBB News 13, the website’s fine print specified that if the prescription form wasn’t sent in within three days by the doctor, the website would send an herbal product instead, but bill for the prescription drug. Customers were basically ordering the prescription drug, paying prescription drug prices, and then getting an herbal product in the mail. Presumably, sometimes the patient would take the herbal product thinking it was the actual prescription drug.
Publicly available information explains why we put DirectDietPills.com on our unapproved list months ago. The Ohio State Board of Pharmacy found that the website was shipping drugs into Ohio, and then provided false information about being licensed in that state. That information has been publicly available since February 2006.
Furthermore, we were troubled by the website’s lack of transparency and full disclosure. For example:
- The AG’s press release indicates that DirectDietPills.com is in Florida, and is owned by Direct Pharmacy, Inc., which is owned by Steven and Rachael McMurtrey.
- There is no pharmacist in Florida with the last name of McMurtrey.
- The website, which is still active, doesn’t disclose the dispensing pharmacy on its website, or even if there is one.
- The domain is registered anonymously.
This is a good example of what LegitScript looks at in determining whether an Internet pharmacy is legitimate. We insist on transparency and, absent extenuating circumstances, won’t approve an online pharmacy with an anonymous domain registration. The publicly available information from the Ohio State Board of Pharmacy clearly indicated that the business was involved in deceiving its own customers. Finally, we insist that there be a link between control of the website and a bona fide pharmacy or pharmacist.