Two pharmacies -- one in Illinois and one in Utah -- have been identified by federal agents as part of a national online ring of pharmacies that are allegedly delivering medications without asking customers to present valid prescriptions, according to search affidavits filed in the state courts, CNN reports.
The affidavits, which were obtained by CNN, showed that the two pharmacies -- in Des Plaines, Ill. and American Fork, Utah -- are owned by the same person and often marketed drugs that were highly addictive, such as muscle relaxants.
During the first six months of 2010, the Illinois pharmacy collaborated with another unidentified pharmacy to ship 30,000 packages of prescription medications nationwide, according to the affidavits.
John Horton -- a former official in the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy and current president of the online pharmacy watchdog group LegitScript -- said that the affidavits are an indication that the Department of Justice is in the process of launching a new effort against illicit online pharmacies.
Between 2008 and April 2010, federal agents ordered prescription medications from a number of websites and received the drugs within two days.
Horton said, "These affidavits indicate this was a multiyear, multimillion-dollar operation involving thousands and thousands of prescriptions."
Horton also said that it is likely that illegally obtaining prescription drugs online involves large cash transactions. He estimated that illicit online pharmacies could process $500,000 worth of transactions per month.
The U.S. attorney's offices in Utah and Chicago have declined to comment on the matter (Griffin/Fitzpatrick, CNN, 8/20).