11 Indest-2008-8By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law

United Parcel Service, Inc. (UPS) will pay $40 million to the Department of Justice (DOJ) to settle a probe related to its shipments on behalf of illicit online pharmacies. This announcement came on March 29, 2013.

Click here to read the press release from the DOJ.

UPS and FedEx Corp., have been the targets of a federal investigation to crackdown on illegal sales of prescription drugs.

UPS Had Previous Warning of Investigation.

From 2003 to 2010, the government warned UPS that internet pharmacies were using its services to distribute controlled substances and prescription drugs, according to the Orlando Sentinel. Federal law prohibits the purchase of controlled substances without a valid prescription from a physician. Even after being made aware, the government alleges UPS did not implement procedures to close these pharmacies’ accounts.

According to the Orlando Sentinel, because of the settlement agreement, the government agreed not to prosecute UPS. The company has also agreed to enhance its compliance policies with respect to shipments made from internet pharmacies. The company could have faced charges ranging from money laundering to distribution of controlled substances. Click here to read the entire article from the Orlando Sentinel.

FedEx Calls the Investigation a Threat to Privacy.

FedEx, has acknowledged it is under investigation, but called the probe a threat to customers’ privacy, and “absurd and deeply disturbing,” according to an article in the Wall Street Journal. FedEx has allegedly asked the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to give the company a list of pharmacies it believes to be illegally operating so FedEx can shut down shipping services to those pharmacies. So far, FedEx is not facing any charges. To read the article from the Wall Street Journal, click here.

DEA Went After Doctors, Pharmacists and Pharmacies First.

Law enforcement including the DEA, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the Department of Health (DOH) all seem to be having a hard time keeping up with prescription drug abuse, especially in Florida. These agencies have increased their efforts on doctors, pharmacies and pharmacists to crackdown on violators.

Click here to read a blog on an Orlando physician accused of prescribing painkillers to undercover agents. Click here to read a blog DEA’s investigation of six Walgreens pharmacies in Florida. Click here to read a blog on a Florida pharmacy owner who allegedly committed a $23 million health care fraud scheme. Check our website for similar blogs.

Contact Health Law Attorneys Experienced with Investigations of Health Professionals and Providers.

The attorneys of The Health Law Firm provide legal representation to physicians, nurses, nurse practitioners, CRNAs, dentists, pharmacists, psychologists and other health providers in Department of Health (DOH) investigations, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) investigations, FBI investigations, Medicare investigations, Medicaid investigations and other types of investigations of health professionals and providers.

To contact The Health Law Firm, please call (407) 331-6620 or (850) 439-1001 and visit our website at www.TheHealthLawFirm.com.


What do you think of the government’s investigation into UPS and FedEx? Do you think it could possibly be an invasion of privacy? Please leave any thoughtful comments below.


Barrett, Devlin. “UPS to Settle Web Pharmacy Case.” Wall Street Journal. (March 29, 2013). From: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323501004578390623687298836.html

Pavuk, Amy. “UPS Agrees to $40M Settlement in Online Pharmacy Shipping Probe.” Orlando Sentinel. (March 29, 2013). From: http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/2013-03-29/news/os-ups-dea-prescription-drugs-20130329_1_online-pharmacies-prescription-drugs-ups

Department of Justice. “UPS Agrees to Forfeit $40 Million in Payments from Illicit Online Pharmacies for Shipping Services.” Department of Justice. (March 29, 2013). From: http://www.justice.gov/usao/can/news/2013/2013_03_29_UPS.forfeit.press.html

About the Author: George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., is Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law. He is the President and Managing Partner of The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice. Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida, area. www.TheHealthLawFirm.com The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Ave., Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone: (407) 331-6620.


The Health Law Firm” is a registered fictitious business name of George F. Indest III, P.A. – The Health Law Firm, a Florida professional service corporation, since 1999.
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