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

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The Spread of Online Intellectual Property Infringement Should Worry Payment Providers and Consumers

This week, Europol’s Intellectual Property Crime Coordinated Coalition announced the seizure of more than 33,000 domain names distributing counterfeit and pirated items online. The websites marketed and sold items such as counterfeit goods, pirated entertainment, software, electronics, and other bogus products. The operation involved the cooperation of the US National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center…

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Watch Out for Fraud Through Unauthorized Aggregation

This week, a New Jersey couple and a homeless veteran were arrested and charged with conspiracy and theft by deception for an alleged fraud scheme on the online crowdfunding platform GoFundMe. According to NPR, the three raised $400,000 from more than 14,000 donors based on an allegedly fabricated story of a Good Samaritan. It’s the latest high-profile scam to draw attention to online aggregators and the risks they pose for payment facilitators.

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Are Payment Facilitators Unwittingly Complicit in Anti-Semitic Rhetoric?

Last weekend’s shooting at the Tree of Life Congregation Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, has prompted many to look at the online space and the degree to which platforms allow hate speech and extremist ideas. Although attention is focused mostly on social media outlets used by the shooter — including Gab and Twitter — what role…

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Pure Caffeine: A Danger for Consumers and Payment Facilitators

The popularity (and expense) of energy drinks and workout supplements has prompted many consumers to look for cheaper ways to consume their favorite beverages and pre-workout products. Exercise websites and DIY forums online are replete with recipes and instructional videos on how to make these products at home, which may contribute to the growing interest…

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What the Recent NSDUH Report Says About Opioid Abuse in the US

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration recently released its annual National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), which is one of the most comprehensive surveys in the US on the issues of substance abuse and mental health. For this 2017 report, nearly 70,000 people representative of the general US population were surveyed…

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How Drugs Are Sold on the Dark Web

Federal authorities announced last week several arrests, charges, and guilty pleas from a joint operation dubbed “Operation Darkness Falls,” which targeted people and organizations selling fentanyl and other drugs over the dark web. Among those arrested were the operators behind the dark web username “MH4Life,” which the Department of Justice called the most prolific dark…

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What is Spice/K2? (It’s Not “Synthetic Marijuana”)

Following last week’s mass drug overdose in New Haven, Connecticut — in which more than 100 people were treated for symptoms such as vomiting, convulsing, and passing out — some may be wondering exactly what K2 and Spice are, and why this drug is called “synthetic marijuana” and “herbal incense.” These labels are misleading, especially…

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The Problem With Glucosamine Supplements

As a public service, LegitScript offers free limited product lookups so that people can check to see if a product they have purchased is dangerous or otherwise problematic. Frequently, we get searches for products that contain problematic ingredients such as marijuana, kratom, and SARMs. But we’ve noticed that one of the top ingredient searches on…

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Operators of So-Called Canadian Pharmacy Sentenced for Distributing Misbranded Prescription Drugs

Last year, we wrote about criminal charges against Billy Lee, Tarn Uppal, and Tony Lee, who operated “Canadian” internet pharmacies but shipped US residents drugs that were not really from Canada. This week, the FDA’s Office of Criminal Investigations announced sentencing for these British Columbia residents, amounting to three years’ probation and a fine of…

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When is a Legal Dietary Supplement Illegal?

Most countries have regulatory authorities like the Food and Drug Administration that monitor and establish rules around food, drugs, dietary supplements, and more. These agencies have their own complex laws and regulatory standards, and they often vary substantially. What may be a legal, unregulated ingredient in one country is a prescription drug in another, and…

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