Can a Doctor Prescribe Medicine Over the Internet?

Last Friday, a Pittsburgh area doctor, Dr. Charles McCool, was charged with “unlawful administration of a controlled substance by a practitioner.”  Dr. McCool will be prosecuted in Lehigh County for allegedly prescribing medication over the internet to patients whom he never met.

It is alleged that Dr. McCool would prescribe painkillers to patients after a short telephone conversation for a fee of approximately $200. 

Federal law requires doctors to conduct at least one physical exam of a patient and establish a doctor patient relationship before prescribing medication.  The public is urged to beware of internet medical consultation companies and to take federal laws seriously when it comes to prescription medication in order to avoid a medical mistake that could result in significant physical harm.