UPS Admits to Dealing With Illegal Online Pharmacies, Will Pay $40 Million Penalty

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UPS agreed Friday to hand over to the U.S. government $40 million in payments that the express shipping company has received from illicit online pharmacies. UPS also will cooperate with the U.S. Justice Department to identify digital drugstores and stop working with them.

"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," said John Roth, Food and Drug Administration criminal investigations director, in a statement.

Federal prosecutors said online pharmacies often sell drugs for discount prices but don't have appropriate oversight to market powerful drugs such as narcotic painkillers like oxycodone and hydrocodone. The Justice Department said that some pharmacies had shipped prescription drugs to customers who had simply filled out a questionanaire.

Feds said UPS had been repeatedly been warnd about working with online dipensaries but did not comply until now.

The shipper said it had been cooperating with law enforcement since 2007.

"As an industry leader, UPS is taking responsibility and playing a role to address the issue of illegal online pharmacies," said Susan Rosenberg, a UPS spokeswoman.

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