Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

FedEx Charged With Shipping Drugs For Illegal Online Pharmacies

FedEx was indicted Thursday on charges of assisting illegal online pharmacies by shipping controlled substances.
Justin Sullivan
Getty Images
FedEx was indicted Thursday on charges of assisting illegal online pharmacies by shipping controlled substances.

A federal grand jury has indicted FedEx on charges of assisting illegal pharmacies. Prosecutors say the shipping company knowingly distributed controlled substances, NPR's Carrie Johnson reports.

FedEx is "accused of conspiring to distribute prescription drugs to people who never met with doctors — a violation of the Controlled Substances Act," Johnson says.

She says prosecutors in San Francisco demanded that representatives for FedEx appear in court on July 29.

USA Today has more on the indictment, which says that FedEx knew the illicit businesses used its services for decades:

"FedEx took steps to protect its business by setting up special credit policies for Internet pharmacies so it wouldn't lose money if police shut the sites down, the indictment says. FedEx also ignored warnings from the DEA, FDA and members of Congress."

Claiming innocence, FedEx released a statement Thursday by Patrick Fitzgerald, senior vice president of marketing and communications. He said FedEx would plead not guilty.

"We are a transportation company — we are not law enforcement. We have no interest in violating the privacy of our customers," the statement added. "We continue to stand ready and willing to support and assist law enforcement. We cannot, however, do the job of law enforcement ourselves."

Fitzgerald said the company has a history of cooperation with law enforcement and has asked the government for a list of illegal sites but has not received one.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit

Dana Farrington is a digital editor coordinating online coverage on the Washington Desk — from daily stories to visual feature projects to the weekly newsletter. She has been with the NPR Politics team since President Trump's inauguration. Before that, she was among NPR's first engagement editors, managing the homepage for and the main social accounts. Dana has also worked as a weekend web producer and editor, and has written on a wide range of topics for NPR, including tech and women's health.