Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Internet pharmacy pioneer Strempler going to prison

  • Print

Andrew Strempler, who launched Canada's first large Internet pharmacy and helped Americans afford life-saving drugs, has been sentenced to 48 months in prison.

Strempler originally faced three counts of mail fraud that carried a maximum sentence of 20 years each. He plea-bargained those charges down to the sentence handed down Wednesday in Miami, Fla.

The government sought a 57-month sentence. Strempler's counsel, Susan Bozorgi, countered with 41 months. Strempler also forfeited $300,000.

Bozorgi did not return phone or email messages. Strempler's former partner, Mark Rzepka, has also refused interview requests from the Free Press. Rzepka sold his interests in Strempler's company, Mediplan, also called RxNorth, in late 2004 or early 2005.

"It's a sad story," said Daren Jorgenson, who exited the Internet pharmacy business about five years ago. Strempler's story is of "a Mennonite kid from Manitoba who made so much money but money corrupted him," he said.

Strempler was in his mid-20s when he launched his business in 2001 out of a pharmacy he set up in Minnedosa that was on the brink of foreclosure. He saved the pharmacy by selling nicotine gum on eBay.

The business took off, with help from cheaper Canadian medications and a Canadian dollar worth only 68 cents U.S. He was soon employing hundreds of staff and selling prescription drugs for heart disease and diabetes across the U.S. He and his partners in Mediplan won the Prairie Entrepreneurs of the Year award.

Jorgenson said he once lived next door to Strempler when Strempler owned Leonard Asper's former home on Wellington Crescent and Jorgenson owned David Asper's former home.

"I told Andrew" to watch out, Jorgenson said.

When American pharmaceutical companies began limiting drug sales to Canadian pharmacies to counter Internet sales, many Internet pharmacies began sourcing their drugs overseas from legitimate pharmacies in Israel, Ireland, Great Britain, New Zealand and Australia. But Strempler began sourcing prescription drugs from places such as Dubai, where there is a greater potential for counterfeit drugs, said Jorgenson.

Strempler then removed the original labels and listed the country of origin as Canada. His fraud convictions stem from misrepresenting the country of origin on shipments of prescription drugs in 2005 and 2006.

An industry source said Internet pharmacies were worried a country-of-origin label from countries such as Greece and Turkey, where some drugs were sourced, could sow seeds of doubt in patients' minds. The signed agreement between U.S. authorities and Strempler states some drugs in shipments "were not consistent" with the name brands they were alleged to represent.

Strempler was living in Panama with his family prior to his arrest in a Miami airport last June.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 10, 2013 A5

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes


  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.


Make text: Larger | Smaller


Grandmother of house fire victims shares memories of four boys killed

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • PHIL.HOSSACK@FREEPRESS.MB.CA 101130-Winnipeg Free Press Columns of light reach skyward to the stars above Sanford Mb Tuesday night. The effect is produced by streetlights refracting through ice crystals suspended in the air on humid winter nights. Stand Up.....
  • A baby Red Panda in her area at the Zoo. International Red Panda Day is Saturday September 15th and the Assiniboine Park Zoo will be celebrating in a big way! The Zoo is home to three red pandas - Rufus, Rouge and their cub who was born on June 30 of this year. The female cub has yet to be named and the Assiniboine Park Zoo is asking the community to help. September 14, 2012  BORIS MINKEVICH / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

View More Gallery Photos


Do you agree with the decision by the Criminal Conviction Review Board to extend freedoms to Vince Li?

View Results

Ads by Google