UPS Pays $40m To End Illegal Drug Shipment Probe

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United Parcel Service has agreed to forfeit $40m to settle a federal probe into shipments for illegal online pharmacies, admitting the company had information it was helping distribute controlled substances.

Bloomberg reports that UPS signed a non-prosecution agreement with the U.S. that requires it to set up a compliance program to prevent illegal Internet pharmacies from using its shipping services, according to a copy of the deal released Friday by the Justice Department.

The accord, which requires cooperation with the Drug Enforcement Administration, will remain in effect for two years.

'DEA is aggressively targeting the diversion of controlled substances, as well as those who facilitate their unlawful distribution', DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart said in a statement. 'This investigation is significant and DEA applauds UPS for working to strengthen and enhance its practices in order to prevent future drug diversion'.

From 2003 through 2010, UPS knew from employees that Internet pharmacies were using its services to distribute controlled substances and medicines without valid prescriptions in violation of the law, according to the agreement. UPS didn’t implement procedures to close the shipping accounts of these pharmacies, the Justice Department said.

The company’s drivers went so far as to drop off drug packages with pharmacy customers in parking lots and along highways, according to a law enforcement letter attached to the agreement.

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UPS Pays $40 Million to End Illegal Drug Shipment Probe

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