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United States v. Smith (2009) – Case Brief Summary (Federal Court)

In United States v. Smith, 573 F.3d 639, 653 (8th Cir. 2009), the United States ("U.S.") Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit determined whether a pharmacist constituted an expert regarding a physician's standard of care.

The defendant was convicted of several crimes for prescribing medications over the internet without examining the patients or verifying their alleged illnesses and injuries. Id. at 643.

On appeal, the defendant argued that the trial court erred because it permitted a pharmacist to testify as an expert. Id. at 646.

The Eighth Circuit examined the pharmacist's expertise, and found that:

He was . . . the executive director of the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy ("NABP") for twenty years . . . . He annually gave testimony before Congress, state legislatures, and state committees on Internet pharmacies and the relevant laws. Through his work with the NABP, he also helped institute a national accreditation program that developed standards of operation for legitimate Internet pharmacies . . . . He had twenty years of teaching at the Washington University Medical School, which qualified him as an expert entitled to express an opinion as to medical procedures in prescribing drugs . . . . He . . . also helped the Government identify over 1,500 "rogue pharmacies," or pharmacies that operated in contravention of state and federal law and offered medications to patients or customers without legitimate or valid prescriptions. Id. at 653-54.

As a result, the Eighth Circuit concluded that the pharmacist was an expert with the necessary expertise to testify regarding the defendant's standard of care. Id. at 653.