Tuesday, April 2, 2013
United Parcel Service (UPS) has agreed to settle an investigation into online pharmacy shipments, The Wall Street Journal reports. The company will forfeit $40 million in payments it received from illicit online pharmacies, and will not be prosecuted.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California’s investigation of UPS was part of the government’s efforts to stop illegal sales of prescription painkillers, the newspaper notes.
UPS also will implement a compliance program designed to ensure that illegal online pharmacies will not be able to use the company’s services to distribute drugs. According to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, “UPS has cooperated fully with the investigation and has already taken steps to ensure that illegal Internet pharmacies can no longer use its services to ship drugs.”
“We are pleased with the steps UPS has taken to stop the use of its shipping services by illegal online pharmacies,” said U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag. “Good corporate citizens like UPS play an important role in halting the flow of illegal drugs that degrade our nation’s communities. We are hopeful that the leadership displayed by UPS through this compliance program will set the standard for the parcel delivery industry and will materially assist the federal government in its battle against illegal Internet pharmacies.”
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, UPS knew that Internet pharmacies were using its services to distribute controlled substances and prescription drugs without valid prescriptions, but did not implement procedures to close the shipping accounts of those pharmacies.
The Drug Enforcement Administration is also investigating FedEx over similar issues. FedEx was not part of the settlement announced last week.