Though it has been over a year since FedEx rival UPS was indicted and settled a similar suit last May, FedEx was also subject of the same investigation. The FedEx investigation began when the company received federal subpoenas as early as 2008. Despite FedEx’s claims of innocence, the delivery company was indicted Thursday. The allegations levied against FedEx are “shipping prescription drugs for illegal online pharmacies.”
UPS settled it’s lawsuit with the U.S. Department of Justice for $40 million for the same illegal activity. According to the Christian Science Monitor, during the investigation into FedEx last year, the company claimed federal investigators had declined to supply them with a list of illegal pharmacies. FedEx said they wanted the list so they “can immediately shut off shipping services to those pharmacies.” During that time, FedEx made this statement:
“We believe that our employees have acted in good faith at all times. 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.”
According to Time, prosecutors allege that Congress, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and other federal agencies warned FedEx for almost a decade that their services were being used to illegally distribute prescription narcotics. They went on to say, despite these warnings, FedEx ignored them. According to the federal indictment, it was outlined that FedEx was aware that two illegal online pharmacies were utilizing their services and allowed it to continue. Allegedly, High level management at FedEx were aware they were doing business with the companies “Chhabra-Smoely” and “Superior Drugs.”
Time also reported that US Attorney Melinda Haag made this statement Thursday:
“The advent of Internet pharmacies allowed the cheap and easy distribution of massive amounts of illegal prescription drugs to every corner of the United States, while allowing perpetrators to conceal their identities through the anonymity the Internet provides. This indictment highlights the importance of holding corporations that knowingly enable illegal activity responsible for their role in aiding criminal behavior.”
Unlike their rival, who settled last year, FedEx intends to fight these allegations. FedEx Senior VP Patrick Fitzgeral declared that the company was innocent of all charges. He went on to state that the company will not plead guilty and FedEx will defend its good name and its employees. A full response can be found on their website.
Illegal online pharmacies seem to be an ongoing problem, and at least one such company, Safescripts Online saw its employers sentenced last year. Illegal pharmacies have been operating since at least 2003. Google Inc was also forced to settle with the DOJ in its association with such companies. With the increasing interest in and abuse of narcotics, coupled with a never ending War On Drugs, it is unlikely that such companies will disappear in the near future.