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News & Updates

The Latest on Internet Pharmacies, Supplements, Designer Drugs, and Other High-Risk Merchants

Steroids update: ICANN terminates registrar non-responsive to LegitScript rogue Internet pharmacy notifications


In July of last year, we sent out letters to eight US-based registrars requesting that they terminate or suspend websites they were sponsoring that offered to sell steroids, a Schedule III controlled substance, without a prescription, from overseas (both illegal and dangerous). Eventually, six of the eight registrars terminated all of the sites. The sole exceptions were Parava Networks, supposedly in Texas, and eNom.

LegitScript sent Parava a letter to the address it had provided to the Internet Corporation on Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). Not only did Parava not respond and not terminate the illegal websites, the letter bounced back to us, with the US postal service indicating that there is “no such address.”

Well. In other words, this was a domain name registrar that was sponsoring rogue Internet pharmacies, couldn’t be reached, and had apparently provided ICANN with false registration about its location. Meanwhile, it continued to register rogue Internet pharmacy domains, including several affiliated with (probable-) Russian-crime-sponsored 33drugs.com. No response to our continued notifications.

As a direct consequence of Parava’s refusal to adhere to ICANN requirements following our requests, ICANN has now informed Parava that it is deaccrediting Parava as a registrar, and shutting Parava down.

This is an important development in the fight against rogue Internet pharmacies. It’s important to note that the provisions used to terminate Parava were not directly related to its knowing sponsoring of illegal Internet pharmacies, but rather its lack of an accurate address and other factors. But this is similar to ICANN’s termination of rogue Internet pharmacy sponsor Estdomains a few months ago, which was also de-accredited for ostensibly different reasons than its sponsorship of criminal websites. As a practical matter, registrars that knowingly sponsor criminal websites and fail to adhere to ICANN requirements may be susceptible to increased attention, including arguments that they are failing to adhere their contractual obligations under ICANN agreements.