Authorities Ponder What To Do About Tribal Pharmacy In Grove

Saturday, September 23rd 2006, 6:14 pm
By: News On 6

GROVE, Okla. (AP) _ Authorities say an Internet pharmacy licensed by an American Indian tribe is distributing medicine without a state license, but they wonder whether the pharmacy falls under state or federal jurisdiction.

The pharmacy is licensed by the Seneca-Cayuga Tribe and operates from a building in Grove. The state Pharmacy Board turned down a license application sought in October 2005 by the tribe's pharmacist, J.R. Enyart. Tribal attorney Scott Wood said Enyart is the only pharmacist licensed by the tribe.

Wood said that he believes the tribe is not dispensing narcotics.

Bryan Potter, the state board's executive director, said he was told the board has no authority in the matter because the pharmacy operates on tribal land. He said he passed along information to the federal Drug Enforcement Administration and the state Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drug Control.

The Oklahoman reported that when a potential customer called the pharmacy this week to ask about obtaining medicine for high blood pressure, the man answering the phone referred her to a Web site and told her to fill out a questionnaire. After that, the man said, a doctor would call, review her history and symptoms and request the medicine.

The Web site said such procedure was used ``in some instances'' but noted that actual visits to a doctor are recommended.

``What kind of Mickey Mouse deal is this?'' said Brian Surber, an attorney for the state Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drug Control. ``To think there's a licensed doctor looking at somebody's Internet request and then filling out a prescription, that's ridiculous.''

He said a tribal attorney asked in June 2005 about receiving an exemption from a state requirement to have a license to distribute narcotics. Surber said the reasoning offered by the attorney was that the business had exempt status because of its location on tribal land. In August 2005, the request was denied.

Some of the drugs the pharmacy indicates on its Web site that it distributes _ including antidepressants, anti-anxiety medicine, sleeping pills, muscle relaxants and other prescription medicines _ are considered controlled dangerous substances in Oklahoma, but not by the federal government.

Federal courts usually have jurisdiction over crimes committed on Indian trust land. DEA spokeswoman Michelle Deaver said that agency has determined the pharmacy isn't dispensing any drugs considered a narcotic by the federal government.