Justice Department Settles Online Pharmacy Probe with UPS

The U.S. Justice Department announced it had reached an agreement for $40 million Friday to settle charges against UPS that the giant shipping company had done business with Internet pharmacies that were illegal.

U.S. officials agreed as part of the settlement not to file prosecution charges against UPS in exchange for UPS handing over the $40 million the company received from its business dealings with the illicit pharmacies operating online. Another requisite of the deal is that UPS implement a strict compliance program.

The Justice Department said that UPS had cooperated fully over the probe and had already taken the steps necessary to halt service for the illegal online pharmacies.

However, the Justice Department said that UPS had not implemented correct procedures to close shipping accounts of the pharmacies online despite employees from the online pharmacies putting them on notice during the years 2003 to 2010 that they were using UPS services to ship prescription drugs and controlled substances without any valid prescriptions.

FedEx, a rival of UPS in the package shipping business, said it was not sure of what laws that UPS might have violated. However, it noted that the company was confident it was in compliance with all federal laws.

FedEx, based in Memphis, Tennessee also said they stand ready to support and help law enforcement and urged the DEA to provide them with a list of the pharmacies believed to be in operation today, so they could immediately cut shipping services to them.