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Joint Investigation Leads to Tampa Arrest
August 22, 2014
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 22, 2014
Contact: Communications Office
TALLAHASSEE—The Florida Department of Health’s Tampa Unlicensed Activity (ULA) Unit today announced that a joint investigation with the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation, Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco, lead to the arrest of Maher Masoud for the unlicensed practice of pharmacy, dispensing drugs, and the felony sale of counterfeit movie DVDs.
An investigation into the activities of the Dollar Way Plus Store, located at 4810 E. Busch Boulevard, Tampa, was prompted by a report to the Department which stated that Maher Masoud was selling prescription drugs without a license out of his store.
On three different occasions, undercover investigators purchased Viagra at the store. On August 21, 2014, investigators again visited the store and found prescription Viagra still for sale. This led to the arrest of Maher Masoud for multiple felonies. Masoud was also issued a cease and desist agreement and a citation for $1000. The investigation is ongoing.
The Department has several resources to combat unlicensed activity:
- Consumers are encouraged to use the Department’s web site at www.flhealthsource.com where they can view the license information of their health care practitioner.
- Complaints may be filed anonymously by completing and mailing the complaint form on the Department’s website, or calling 1-877-HALT-ULA.
The Department’s ULA program protects Florida residents and visitors from the potentially serious consequences of receiving health care services from an unlicensed person. The Department’s Division of Medical Quality Assurance (MQA) investigates and refers for prosecution all unlicensed health care activity complaints and allegations. The ULA works in conjunction with law enforcement and the state attorney’s offices to prosecute individuals practicing without a license. In many instances, unlicensed activity is a felony-level criminal offense. More importantly, receiving health care from unlicensed people is dangerous and could result in further injury, disease or even death.
Working in conjunction with 22 boards and six councils, MQA regulates seven types of facilities and 200-plus license types in more than 40 healthcare professions. MQA evaluates the credentials of all applicants for licensure, issues licenses, analyzes and investigates complaints, inspects facilities, assists in prosecuting practice act violations, combats unlicensed activity, and provides credential and discipline history about licensees to the public. Visit http://www.flhealthsource.com for additional information about MQA.
The Department works to protect, promote and improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county and community efforts. During 2014, the Department is recognizing 125 years of public health in Florida with educational opportunities and events. Please visit www.FLHealth125.gov for more information.