UPS to pay $40M in probe of online illicit pharmacies
SAN FRANCISCO — Shipping company UPS agreed on Friday to pay $40 million to end a federal criminal probe connected to deliveries it made for illicit online pharmacies.
The Department of Justice announced that the Atlanta-based company also would “take steps” to block illicit online drug dealers from using UPS for deliveries.
The DOJ said the fine is the money that UPS collected from suspect online pharmacies. UPS won't be charged with any crimes.
“We believe we have an obligation and responsibility to help curb the sale and shipment of drugs sold through illegal Internet pharmacies,” UPS spokesman Bill Tanner said. “UPS will pay a $40 million penalty and has agreed to enhance its compliance policies with respect to Internet pharmacy shippers.”
Its biggest rival, FedEx Corp., still remains a target in the federal investigation, according to its March 21 quarterly report filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
“We believe that our employees have acted in good faith at all times,” FedEx stated in its regulatory filing. “We do not believe that we have engaged in any illegal activities and will vigorously defend ourselves in any action that may result from the investigation.”
FedEx said it received subpoenas from a federal grand jury in San Francisco in 2008 and 2009. The San Francisco U.S. Attorney's Office has played a central role in a nationwide crackdown of online pharmacies. Ten people with ties to such pharmacies have been convicted over the last two years.
“It is unclear what federal laws UPS may have violated,” FedEx said in a statement on Friday. “We remain confident that we are in compliance with federal law.”
The DOJ said some UPS employees knew the company was making deliveries from 2003-10 for pharmacies that filled orders for dangerous drugs without proper prescriptions from doctors.
“Despite being on notice that this activity was occurring, UPS did not implement procedures to close the shipping accounts,” the DOJ said in a prepared statement.
FedEx said federal investigators have declined to supply it with a list of suspect pharmacies. The company said it “can immediately shut off shipping services to those pharmacies” if given such a list.
A DOJ spokesman declined to comment about the FedEx investigation.
In a prepared statement announcing the UPS settlement, Food and Drug Administration Criminal Chief John Roth said the “FDA is hopeful that the positive actions taken by UPS in this case will send a message to other shipping firms to put public health and safety above profits.”
Earlier this week, a federal judge in San Francisco sentenced Chris Napoli to four years in prison and ordered him to forfeit $24 million that his illicit pharmacy Safescripts Online earned from 2004-06.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Vending business sold after pot-growing operation found in Lawrenceville
- Police charge Steelers’ Bell, Blount with marijuana possession
- $4M floor project at Pittsburgh International Airport to replace drab gray, clickety-clack tile
- Festival of Hope attendees enjoy final day of worship, music, Graham
- Renowned forensic pathologist Wecht critical of 3rd autopsy in Ferguson death
- Feds dispute ex-PA Cyber chief’s claims of illegal attorney-client recordings
- Pittsburgh region’s immigration differs from rest of nation
- Nonprofit intends to restore West End Village tavern
- Roman Catholics, evangelical Christians closer now than ever
- Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra makes ‘great strides’ financially, audit shows
- Icy water, donations to fight ALS flow with social media’s help