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Russian Authorities File Charges Against Alleged SpamIt Kingpin

Russian authorities have charged Igor A. Gusev, General Director of Despmedia, a Russian web design studio, with operating an illegal pharmacy and failure to registrar a business. The pharmacy in this case is the infamous “Canadian Pharmacy,” which is not genuinely Canadian but operates from several locations, including out of Russia.

Computer and network security researchers have long identified Canadian Pharmacy, also known as Glavmed and Spamit, as the number one world-wide source of pharmaceutical spam. Based in Russia, Canadian Pharmacy bombarded the US consumer with unrequested email containing offers of counterfeit, no-prescription necessary, drugs.

Canadian Pharmacy spam operations included use of illegal world-wide botnets comprised of malware infected computers; use of Internet Service Providers (ISPs) that provided safe-havens for illegal and malicious networks; and domain registrars that provided similar safe-harbor domain registrations often with the use of false credentials, despite numerous security and consumer complaints.

While Canadian Pharmacy is well-known for illegal spam, the initial Russian charges against Mr. Gusev focus on the operation of an illegal pharmacy and an unregistered business. This is a welcome development. There is a growing international consensus that action should be taken to remove the danger presented by Internet pharmacy operations that operate outside of established ethical and legal boundaries to the ultimate detriment of consumer health and safety.

LegitScript has developed a set of guidelines for Internet pharmacies in collaboration with the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy that is based on ethical standards, professional pharmacist accreditation and compliance with US federal and state laws. Russia’s action against the infamous Canadian Pharmacy validates the effort to establish standards for Internet pharmacy operations and the removal of criminal, illegal Internet pharmacies that violate these standards.