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Drug Enforcement Administration

Detroit

Keith Martin , Special Agent in Charge

August 04, 2020

Contact: Brian McNeal

Phone Number: (571) 362-1498

DEA implements ecommerce outreach program to combat counterfeit drug production

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration has developed an e-commerce outreach program aimed at reducing the availability of dangerous, often deadly, counterfeit prescription drugs in the United States.  This DEA-led initiative focuses on educating online retailers about the sale of pill presses and components used in the production of illicit and deadly counterfeit pills.

Online retailers frequently offer items commonly used in the manufacture of illicit pills, unaware of the regulations and other restrictions involved in the sale and possession of these items.  Examples include regulated tableting machines, also known as “pill presses;” encapsulating devices; punches, or “dies,” which imprint markings and trademark logos onto the pill as it is pressed; and regulated chemical products used to synthesize illicit drugs.  Drug trafficking organizations use these tools of the trade to produce counterfeit pills that closely resemble legitimate prescription pills, but often include fentanyl, heroin, methamphetamine, or other dangerous illicit substances.

“DEA recognizes the importance of collaborative efforts between government and the private sector to battle the drug crisis that claims more than 67,000 American lives annually,” said Acting Administrator Timothy J. Shea.  “DEA strongly encourages all online retailers to take the steps necessary to help disrupt the illicit manufacturing of dangerous counterfeit pills that are nearly indistinguishable from controlled prescription medications.”

DEA is engaging in proactive collaboration with online e-commerce companies that sell these products to emphasize the importance of safeguarding these critical components and prevent them from falling into the hands of illicit DTOs.  Additionally, DEA is educating the companies on the appropriate reporting regulations, which are required when legitimate sales or transfers occur. 

This outreach initiative has resulted in dialogue with several online retailers to encourage compliance with regulations and restriction of the sale of these products.  Notably, Amazon.com, Inc., has recently been the first to ban all sales of tableting and encapsulating machines and pill punches from its sales/online platform.

For more information on DEA’s Diversion Control Division, visit: https://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/.

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