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News & Updates

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

LegitScript assists in Operation Pangea 2014; partners with registrars

LegitScript is proud to have assisted INTERPOL and drug safety authorities around the world in the execution of Operation Pangea, a global effort to stem the tide of fake or unlicensed medicines sold both online and offline (but especially over the Internet).

Operation Pangea is interesting in that although it's primarily driven by law enforcement and drug safety authorities such as the US Food and Drug Administration, a number of private companies — LegitScript, G2 Web Services, Microsoft, PayPal, and others — support public-sector efforts to reduce the number of rogue Internet pharmacies around the world. LegitScript's role is to assist in providing data and analysis to Operation Pangea participants (e.g., in helping to identify potential targets and determine which network the website is affiliated with) and serve as a conduit for domain name registrar and registry notifications, resulting in the domain names being suspended.

This year, INTERPOL noted that more than 10,000 rogue Internet pharmacies were shut down. The domain name registrars responded to our notifications deserve credit: large, well-known ones like GoDaddy, eNom, Name.com, and Directi; medium-sized ones like Internet.bs, Moniker, DirectNIC, Blacknight and Dynadot; and smaller ones like OurDomains and EPAG. The registrar community deserves credit for the implementation of voluntary policies aimed at reducing the incidence of dangerous online drug sales. To the same point, companies deserve recognition when they implement policies and procedures designed to ensure that they do not profit from criminal activities. Compliance is rarely fun. But it's the right thing to do.

There are, however, a few registrars that steadfastly insist on continuing to provide safe haven for rogue Internet pharmacies: Gransy (subreg.cz), Rebel, TodayNIC, Dattatec, WebNic, MeshDigital, Regtime, and BizCN, among others. These companies either ignore well-founded abuse complaints (in some cases, even from law enforcement), or seem to believe that they are exempt from any legal, contractual or moral obligation not to provide paid services to criminal entities.

LegitScript is aggressively pursuing ICANN sanctions against these registrars. Simply put, these registrars' agreement with ICANN requires them to respond to well-founded abuse complaints regarding illegal conduct appropriately — not ignore them. But at the same time, it's important not to let these few registrars give the rest of the registrar community a black eye: the backstory of Operation Pangea is that there are actually an increasingly small number of domain name registrars that rogue Internet pharmacies can rely on to provide them with safe haven, and that's a credit to the registrar community as a whole, and the model of voluntary self-governance.