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Doctor sentenced for massive online Rx factory

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A Virginia doctor has been sentenced to serve a year in prison on charges he wrote as many as 100,000 internet prescriptions over a three-year span.

Torrino Jennings of Mechanicsville, Virginia, received the sentence after pleading guilty in July to 11 felony counts, including introducing misbranded drugs into interstate commerce and tax evasion. In May, federal prosecutors accused him of writing 50,000 to 100,000 prescriptions from 2004 to 2007 for individuals he never met.

That comes out to roughly 45 to 90 prescriptions every day of the year for three years. Internet pharmacies paid Jennings $5 to $7 for each prescription, representing a windfall potentially worth $700,000. One wonders if the doctor developed a nasty case of writer's cramp.

The prescriptions were for the muscle relaxant Soma and other drugs, according to documents filed in US District Court in Boston. Jennings honored virtually every request submitted to him.

It's notable that the unnamed online pharmacy bothered at all obtaining legitimate prescriptions. Studies over the past year and a half have shown that many sites peddling controlled drugs don't require prescriptions and, indeed, often deliver counterfeit products. ®

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