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

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North Carolina Man Receives Maximum Sentence for Selling Dangerous Chemical for Weight Loss

The US Department of Justice announced recently that North Carolina resident Barry Clint Wright was sentenced to seven years in federal prison for his role in the online sale of 2,4-Dinitrophenol (DNP), a substance abused by bodybuilders and other people for weight-loss purposes. Wright, 38, received the maximum statutory sentence for introducing an unapproved drug…

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Five Reasons Counterfeit Goods Put You at Risk

Intellectual property infringement made news last month with noteworthy enforcement and legal actions in the United States and beyond. First, a US federal complaint described an international counterfeiting ring that smuggled $472 million worth of counterfeit sneakers into the country. Then, Europol announced it had shut down more than 30,000 websites for selling fake or…

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Are Synthetic Cannabinoids Behind Recent Vaping-related Lung Injuries?

As of early December, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported 48 deaths and nearly 2,300 hospitalizations associated with e-cigarettes and vaping. While the CDC has identified many brands responsible for the outbreak, there is still considerable uncertainty about what substance in vaping products is causing these illnesses. New research has left…

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“Alzheimer’s” on Track to Win LegitScript’s Infamous Yellow Flag Award for 2019

“Alzheimer’s” and related disease terms are on track to be this year’s top impermissible supplement marketing claim, which would earn it the LegitScript Yellow Flag Award for 2019. With four months still left in the year, will “Alzheimer’s” beat last year’s top impermissible claim — “inflammation” — or 2017’s winner, “cancer”? Only time and shady…

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CBD Confusion in Iowa Highlights the Difficulty in Navigating Local CBD Laws

The Iowa Attorney General’s Office recently reminded Iowans that cannabidiol (CBD) is still considered a controlled substance in the state despite the newly passed Iowa Hemp Act, which legalized the production of hemp containing less than 0.3% THC. The confusion has resulted in enforcement efforts to stop its sale, and it illustrates a larger legal…

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The Top Marketing Claims CBD Merchants and Manufacturers Should Avoid

One of the aspects of cannabidiol (CBD) sales that can attract regulatory scrutiny is the way in which merchants market their CBD products. In the past five years, the FDA has sent many warning letters to manufacturers and merchants of CBD products for claims that their products can prevent, cure, mitigate, or treat diseases. No…

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Will CVS’ New Policy Flood the Online Space with Bad Supplements?

CVS announced in May a new policy that requires all vitamins and dietary supplements in the store to be third-party tested for safety and label accuracy. The “Tested to Be Trusted” program is an innovative initiative to weed out problematic supplements, but will it create new problems for e-commerce platforms and payment service providers operating…

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Why a CBD Merchant Account is Still Hard to Get, and What You Can Do About It

CBD merchant accounts are still difficult for CBD producers, merchants, and retailers to get, despite the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, which legalized hemp and hemp-derived CBD with THC levels of no more than 0.3 percent. Why are payment service providers still wary about onboarding CBD merchants? The answer lies in the fact that…

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CBD Demand is Causing a Rise in Transaction Laundering

One of the most pervasive threats to payment service providers is transaction laundering — which is often used to process credit card transactions for illicit pharmaceuticals or intellectual property infringement, but increasingly is used for cannabidiol (CBD) products. Since the change in legal status of certain forms of CBD as a result of the 2018…

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What the Blackstone Labs Indictment Means for Payment Service Providers

Last month, six people associated with Blackstone Labs were charged in an indictment to market and sell illegal dietary supplements for use in bodybuilding and weight loss. The indictment is significant because of the size and reach of Blackstone Labs, and because of the way it is alleged to have deceptively labeled products for years.…

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