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FedEx indicted on charges of shipping illegal drugs

Online pharmacies rely heavily on overnight shipping services.
Online pharmacies rely heavily on overnight shipping services.
Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The US Attorney for the Northern District of California indicted FedEx Thursday in connection with a Justice Department probe regarding illegal pharmaceutical shipments. According to federal investigators, charges against FedEx Corporation state that the company was found to have “conspired with two separate but related online pharmacy organizations to distribute controlled substances and prescription drugs to American consumers without requiring their customers to have a valid prescription, as required by the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.” Illegal internet pharmacies depend heavily on overnight couriers to facilitate the illegal distribution of prescription drugs

Agents in the Food and Drug Administration’s Office of Criminal Investigations worked hand-in-hand with the United States Drug Enforcement Administration as well as with the US Attorney’s Office during the investigation. According to the indictment, FedEx employees had identified over 200 accounts that were associated with online pharmacies as of July 2004. By September of 2010, the list had jumped to include more than 600 online pharmacy accounts.

The investigation has been ongoing for several years, during which time the FedEx Corporation has continued to deny any wrongdoing, and even issued the following statement last March from its headquarters in Memphis, TN.

“We believe that our employees have acted in good faith at all times,” the company said. “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.”

It should also be noted that Federal Express is not the only international shipper to fall under the suspicion of the DEA and FDA. In fact, UPS, shelled out $40 million in 2013 and agreed to institute a ”compliance program into place to prevent illegal online pharmacies from distributing drugs through its shipping services.” as part of a “nonprosecution’ agreement with the Justice Department to avoid charges in the same investigation.