FedEx, which was indicted earlier this month on drug trafficking charges, pleaded not guilty on Tuesday. The company is accused of conspiring to deliver prescription drugs for illegal online pharmacies.
Bloomberg reports the company, the world’s largest cargo airline, was indicted on 15 counts of conspiracy to distribute controlled substances and misbranded drugs and drug trafficking.
According to the indictment, the shipping company knew for a decade that illegal online pharmacies used their services. “While some Internet pharmacies were managed by well-known pharmacy chains that required valid prescriptions and visits to the patient’s personal physician, others failed to require a prescription before filling orders for controlled substances and prescription drugs,” a U.S. Sentencing Commission news release states. “These Internet pharmacies filled orders based solely on the completion of an online questionnaire, without a physical examination, diagnosis, or face-to-face meeting with a physician. Such practices violated federal and state laws governing the distribution of prescription drugs and controlled substances.”
According to prosecutors, government officials warned FedEx at least six times since 2004 that illegal Internet pharmacies used the company to deliver drugs.
At a hearing in federal court in San Francisco on Tuesday, Cris Arguedas, a lawyer for FedEx said, “We are a transportation company, not a pharmacy, not a website, not a doctor.” Prosecutors said that by the end of August the government intends to present an updated indictment to a federal grand jury that is investigating the company.
The company said it repeatedly asked the government to provide a list of online pharmacies engaging in illegal activity. “Whenever DEA provides us a list of pharmacies engaging in illegal activity, we will turn off shipping for those companies immediately. So far the government has declined to provide such a list,” FedEx said in a statement when the indictment was announced.