UPS Forfeits $40 Million In Illegal Drug Delivery Probe

Federal prosecutors in San Francisco announced today that United Parcel Service Inc. has agreed to forfeit $40 million to settle a probe of its deliveries of drugs from illegal online pharmacies.

U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag said the $40 million represents payments that Atlanta-based UPS received for delivering packages for the companies between 2003 and 2010.

The settlement was finalized in a non-prosecution agreement signed today by Haag and a lawyer for UPS.
In the pact, prosecutors agreed not to file charges against UPS and the delivery company agreed to forfeit the $40 million and implement a compliance program.

Haag said the company was on notice, through some of its employees, from 2003 to 2010 that some Internet pharmacies were using the company’s services to ship controlled substances and prescription drugs illegally.

Internet pharmacies operate illegally when they sell drugs not supported by a valid prescription, Haag said. A prescription based solely on a customer’s completion of an online questionnaire is not valid, she said.

U.S. Food and Drug Administration criminal investigations director John Roth said illegally shipped drugs hurt consumers because such drugs could be unapproved, counterfeit or otherwise unsafe.

Haag said UPS has cooperated with the investigation and has already taken steps to stop illegal shipments.

“We are pleased with the steps UPS has taken to stop the use of its shipping services by illegal online pharmacies,” Haag said in a statement.

Elsewhere

UPS Pays $40 Million to End Illegal Drug Shipment Probe [Bloomberg]
UPS to forfeit $40 million from drug sales [Chron]

“We are hopeful that the leadership displayed by UPS through this compliance program will set the standard for the parcel delivery industry, she said.

UPS spokeswoman Susan Rosenberg said, “UPS believes we have an obligation and responsibility to help curb the sale and shipment of drugs sold through illegal Internet pharmacies.

“We’ve been cooperating with the Department of Justice for several years now and believe we have resolved the investigation,” she said.

UPS is the world’s largest package delivery company, Rosenberg said.

The settlement includes an eight-page “Agreed Statement of Facts” acknowledged by both prosecutors and UPS.

Among other facts, the statement says that despite being on notice that illegally operating Internet pharmacies were using its services, “UPS did not implement procedures to close the accounts of those pharmacies, permitting them to ship controlled substances and prescription drugs from 2003 to 2010.”

The $40 million payment is due by April 5, the agreement says.

U.S. Attorney’s Office spokesman Joshua Eaton said the money will go to the U.S. Justice Department’s Assets Forfeiture Fund.

The fund is used to pay for the costs of forfeitures and for general investigation expenses, according to the department’s website.

Julia Cheever, Bay City News

Please make sure your comment adheres to our comment policy. If it doesn't, it may be deleted. Repeat violations may cause us to revoke your commenting privileges. No one wants that!
  • John Grace

    Gee, Health Insurance Companies and Drug Companies have been pushing consumers into mail order prescription drugs for the past 15 years. Maybe this shows how out of touch the Federal Prosecutors are with modern life. Whats next ban text messages?

    • not a problem if you have a scrip.

      “Internet pharmacies operate illegally when they sell drugs not supported by a valid prescription, Haag said. A prescription based solely on a customer’s completion of an online questionnaire is not valid, she said”

      way to read, champ.

  • John Grace

    Gee, Health Insurance Companies and Drug Companies have been pushing consumers into mail order prescription drugs for the past 15 years. Maybe this shows how out of touch the Federal Prosecutors are with modern life. Whats next ban text messages?

    • not a problem if you have a scrip.

      “Internet pharmacies operate illegally when they sell drugs not supported by a valid prescription, Haag said. A prescription based solely on a customer’s completion of an online questionnaire is not valid, she said”

      way to read, champ.

  • Richard Roland

    The verbiage parroted by the reporter is carefully worded so as to be misread as saying that UPS was told about particular illegal shippers, but continued to accept their shipments. The reality is that the Feds refused to inform FedEx and UPS of what shippers were violating the law. The reporter is acting as a government mouthpiece, not as a reporter.

  • Richard Roland

    The verbiage parroted by the reporter is carefully worded so as to be misread as saying that UPS was told about particular illegal shippers, but continued to accept their shipments. The reality is that the Feds refused to inform FedEx and UPS of what shippers were violating the law. The reporter is acting as a government mouthpiece, not as a reporter.

  • masongill

    Any time you see Melissa Haag’s name associated with any USAA action, you know the Constitution and the people’s interests are not represented.

  • masongill

    Any time you see Melissa Haag’s name associated with any USAA action, you know the Constitution and the people’s interests are not represented.