UPS SETTLES PROBE OF ILLEGAL ONLINE DRUG SHIPMENTS, U.S. SAYS

(The following is a reformatted version of a press release
issued by The U.S. Justice Department and received via
electronic mail. The release was confirmed by the sender.) 
MARCH 29, 2013 
UPS AGREES TO FORFEIT $40 MILLION IN PAYMENTS FROM
ILLICIT ONLINE PHARMACIES FOR SHIPPING SERVICES 
United States Agrees to Forego Prosecution in Exchange for
Forfeiture and Implementation of Strong Compliance Program 
SAN FRANCISCO ‑ United Parcel Service Inc. (UPS) and the U.S.
Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California
entered into a Non-Prosecution Agreement (NPA) today in which
UPS agreed to forfeit $40 million in payments it has received
from illicit online pharmacies and to implement a compliance
program designed to ensure that illegal online pharmacies will
not be able to use UPS’s services to distribute drugs, U.S.
Attorney Melinda Haag, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)
Administrator Michele M. Leonhart, and Food and Drug
Administration (FDA) Director of the Office of Criminal
Investigations John Roth announced. 
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.  These voluntary
improvements will be strengthened by the compliance program UPS
will implement as a condition of this NPA. 
U.S. Attorney Haag commented: “We are pleased with the steps UPS
has taken to stop the use of its shipping services by illegal
on-line pharmacies.  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.” 
From 2003 through 2010, UPS was on notice, through some of its
employees, that Internet pharmacies were using its services to
distribute controlled substances and prescription drugs without
valid prescriptions in violation of the law.  Internet
pharmacies operate illegally when they distribute controlled
substances and prescription drugs that are not supported by
valid prescriptions.  A prescription based solely on a
customer’s completion of an on-line questionnaire is not valid.
Despite being on notice that this activity was occurring, UPS
did not implement procedures to close the shipping accounts of
Internet pharmacies. 
“DEA is aggressively targeting the diversion of controlled
substances, as well as those who facilitate their unlawful
distribution,” said DEA Administrator Michele M. Leonhart.
“This investigation is significant and DEA applauds UPS for
working to strengthen and enhance its practices in order to
prevent future drug diversion.” 
FDA Office of Criminal Investigations Director John Roth added:
“The results of this investigation will prompt a significant
transformation of illicit internet pharmacy shipping and
distribution practices, limiting the chances of potentially
unapproved, counterfeit or otherwise unsafe prescription
medications from reaching U.S. consumers.  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.” 
Kirstin M. Ault is the Assistant U.S. Attorney who is
prosecuting the case with the assistance of Legal Technician
Rawaty Yim.  The prosecution is the result of an investigation
by the Financial Investigative Team of the DEA, with the
assistance of the FDA Office of Criminal Investigations.  This
investigation is part of USAO-NDCA’s Health Care Fraud program
and was initiated as an investigation with the Organized Crime
and Drug Enforcement Task Force.  Substantial assistance was
provided by the North Carolina Board of Pharmacy. 
CONTACT:
JOSHUA EATON
(415) 436-7200
WWW.JUSTICE.GOV/USAO/CAN/ 
(bjh) NY 
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