FedEx Indicted On Illegal Drug Shipping For Online Pharmacies

The Justice Department says the delivery service knew since at least 2004.

FedEx Indicted On Illegal Drug Shipping For Online Pharmacies
[Image: Flickr user Shlala]

Like a Mitch Hedberg joke made real, FedEx, the world’s second-largest shipping company, was indicted on Thursday on illegal drug trafficking charges. The package-delivery company stands accused of knowingly delivering prescription drugs for illegal online pharmacies, stretching back at least a decade.

The indictment claims that FedEx knew illicit Internet pharmacies were using its services since 2004, but carried on anyway, despite multiple warnings from the Food and Drug Administration, the Drug Enforcement Agency, and members of Congress. According to a statement from the Justice Department, FedEx went on to set up a credit policy so that it would not lose money if an online pharmacy was shut down by the police:

The stated reason for this policy was that many Internet pharmacies operated outside federal and state regulations over the sale of controlled drugs and many sites had been shut down by the government without warning, leaving a large balance owed to FedEx. According to the indictment, FedEx also established a Sales policy in which all online pharmacies were assigned to a “catchall” classification to protect the commission-based compensation of its sales professionals from the volatility caused by online pharmacies moving shipping locations often to avoid detection by the DEA.

Last year, UPS, the world’s largest shipping company, paid $40 million as part of a settlement to avoid similar charges, reports the New York Times. In several recent corporate filings, FedEx says that it believes “our employees have acted in good faith at all times,” and “we do not believe that we have engaged in any illegal activities.”

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Chris is a staff writer at Fast Company, where he covers business and tech. He has also written for The Week, TIME, Men's Journal, The Atlantic, and more.