eBay agrees to pay US$59mn to settle lawsuit related to sales of pill-making tools
IANS 01 February 2024
E-commerce platform eBay has agreed to pay $59 million to settle a lawsuit alleging that it assisted in the sale of pill press machines that can be used to manufacture illegal drugs, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) has announced.
 
According to the DOJ, pill presses and encapsulating machines can be used by criminals to manufacture illegal drugs.
 
Pill presses, when combined with a mould, stamp, or die that resembles regularly prescribed restricted medicines, can produce counterfeit pills that seem identical to actual pharmaceutical drugs, including pills laced with fentanyl.
 
The Controlled Substances Act (CSA) regulates certain pharmaceutical manufacturing equipment, including pill presses and encapsulating machines, by requiring identity verification of purchasers, record-keeping, and reporting to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
 
The department alleged that eBay did not comply with these CSA requirements for thousands of pill presses and encapsulating machines that were sold through its website.
 
"Counterfeit pills laced with fentanyl are a significant contributor to the deadly overdose epidemic," Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta, Chair of the Justice Department's Opioid Epidemic Civil Litigation Task Force, said in a statement.
 
"The Department is committed to using all available enforcement measures to ensure that companies involved in selling the equipment that makes it possible to create these dangerous pills comply with the Controlled Substances Act," she added.
 
In addition to the monetary settlement, the e-commerce platform agreed to maintain and enhance its compliance programme with respect to its prohibited and restricted items policy.
 
"Fentanyl -- pressed into fake pills that look like real prescription medications -- is killing Americans. Drug traffickers buy the tools to make fake pills, like pill presses, online," said DEA Administrator Anne Milgram.
 
"eBay and other e-commerce platforms must do their part to protect the public. And when they do not, DEA will hold them accountable," she added.
 
Meanwhile, eBay is sacking around 1,000 employees or 9 per cent of its full-time workforce, and the company will also lay off an unspecified number of contractors "over the coming months".
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.
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