Tuesday, June 13, 2007 -- Two St. Lucie County markets catering to Mexican patrons have been illegally dispensing medication without prescriptions, according to Sheriff Ken J. Mascara.
“We investigated these stores for months before serving search warrants and making arrests at three stores Tuesday,” said Sheriff Ken J. Mascara. “Charges of operating pharmacies without licenses and dispensing prescription medication without licenses are serious. They can lead to unforeseen medical complications in addition to being totally illegal.”
Sheriff Mascara added: “We undertook this investigation to protect members of the Hispanic community from several kinds of exploitation.
“First and foremost, the safety of members of the Hispanic community is at risk when they are sold medication that should only be dispensed under a doctor’s care and with a prescription. To give just one example, if someone takes antibiotics at lower doses and fewer doses than a physician would prescribe, that person will not only fail to cure an infection, but the infection will become more resistant to the antibiotic.
“Second, these cases involve economic exploitation. The medications being sold were overpriced, and their quality is questionable.
“We want to protect the members of the Hispanic community from medical and economic exploitation,” Sheriff Mascara said.
The Sheriff's Office worked with Martin and St. Lucie County Health Department offices in the investigation, resulting in search warrants served at businesses Tuesday and the three arrests.
The investigation is continuing, and additional arrests may result, Sheriff Mascara said.