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Dunellen Pharmacist's License Revoked After Pleading Guilty to Internet Prescription Scheme


The New Jersey State Board of Pharmacy has suspended the license of Peter J. Riccio, a Dunellen pharmacist who illegally distributed a potentially addictive, controlled-substance medication to individuals across the nation through an Internet-based scheme.

Riccio admitted that, in violation of Federal and New Jersey laws, he knowingly distributed the controlled drug to patients who had not actually been seen by doctors. Out-of-state prescribers instead wrote prescriptions for patients who had filled out online questionnaires. 

Riccio illegally distributed Fioricet, a pain medication that contains a potentially addictive Controlled Dangerous Substance called butalbital. When abused in combination with opiates or other psychoactive drugs, butalbital may increase their effects and cause the risk of significant side effects. 

Following a Federal indictment, Riccio pleaded guilty to the criminal scheme and was convicted in June 2014.  

Although he was sentenced to two years’ probation and a $100 mandatory special assessment, the Federal sentence did not affect his license to practice pharmacy.

On February 5, 2015, following a hearing, the State Board of Pharmacy ordered the suspension of Riccio’s license for a minimum of five years, beginning retroactively on the date of the June 2014 judgment of conviction. The Board will not entertain a petition for the reinstatement of his license until at least June 20, 2019.

Before applying for reinstatement, Riccio must pay $45,000 in civil penalties and $14,668.50 to repay the State’s investigative and legal costs. 

Also prior to any application for reinstatement, Riccio will be required to demonstrate that he has unconditionally passed a Board-approved ethics course; take and pass the Multistate Pharmacy Jurisprudence Examination; complete the Pharmacist Assessment for Remediation Evaluation; complete the continuing education required for licensure renewal; complete a criminal history background check; provide proof of successful competition of the terms of his criminal sentence; pay all necessary fees; and appear before the Board or a committee of the Board to demonstrate his fitness to return to practice.

For more information on the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs' initiative to halt the diversion and abuse of prescription drugs, view the Division's NJPMP website, and the Division's Project Medicine Drop website.