What Brown Can’t Do

Unauthorized drug shipments

The United Parcel Service (UPS) agreed in March to pay the Department of Justice $40 million for its involvement in shipping drugs sold by illegal online pharmacies. The settlement ends a criminal probe that was first revealed in regulatory filings last November. 

Although the probe also targeted Federal Express, no settlement was announced with that company, which insists it has always complied with federal law. According to The Wall Street Journal, a FedEx spokesperson called the investigation “absurd” when it first became public, saying the Drug Enforcement Administration wanted to “deputize” the company’s employees to catch drug dealers.

The UPS settlement was part of a global regulatory campaign against online pharmacies, which in 2010 yielded the largest federal fine in U.S. history: a $500 million penalty paid by Google to settle a case involving ads for online pharmacies.  

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