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Internet pharmacy sales land nine people in prison

Nine people were sentenced last month for their roles in illegally distributing controlled substances via Internet pharmacies. Collectively, the defendants forfeited $94 million from the sales of medications including diet pills like phentermine and anti-anxiety drugs such as Xanax and Valium.

The convictions were the result of an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration. “Prescription drug abuse has risen to alarming levels, oftentimes leaving a trail of devastation behind and negatively impacting our communities,” DEA Acting Special Agent in Charge Bruce C. Balzano said. “DEA will aggressively pursue all who choose profits over the health and safety of the public.”

Among those sentenced were Christopher Napoli of Newtown Square, Pa., who founded Pharmacy USA/SafescriptsOnline, which sold more than 13 million doses of controlled substances from November 2004 to December 2006. Using Internet pharmacy affiliates in countries including Argentina, India, Panama and Romania, SafescriptsOnline took in more than $24 million in less than two years. Napoli was sentenced to four years in prison. Joseph Carozza of West Orange, N.J., was sentenced to two and a half years in prison for his role as a doctor reviewing drug orders from online questionnaires for SafescriptsOnline. Evidence showed that Carozza approved more than 184,000 drug orders in 11 months, once approving more than 12,000 orders in one day. More details are available on the Department of Justice website.