February 5, 2024: eBay pays $59mm to settle federal pill press charges

Major Stories

On January 31, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that eBay had agreed to pay $59 million to settle allegations it had not followed recordkeeping and reporting requirements for the sale of pill presses and encapsulating machines that are specified in the Controlled Substances Act. The $59 million settlement is a signal to other online marketplaces that the federal government will not tolerate the unregulated sale of pill presses. The ecommerce company — which has made progressive changes in recent years to prevent pill-making equipment from being listed on their site — has admitted no wrongdoing. Learn more about the settlement.

During testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Snap CEO Evan Spiegel voiced his support for the Cooper Davis Act, which would require online communications companies to report distribution of counterfeit controlled substances, fentanyl, or methamphetamine on their platforms to the Drug Enforcement Administration. The bill is named for Cooper Davis, a 16-year-old from Shawnee, Kansas, who died of fentanyl poisoning after taking half of a counterfeit Percocet pill in 2020.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned consumers not to purchase or use South Moon, Rebright or FivFivGo eye drops, which are unapproved products packaged to look like Bausch + Lomb’s Lumify eye drops. Testing of two of the products showed that they don’t contain brimonidine tartrate, the active ingredient in Lumify, and that one of them is contaminated with a bacteria that could cause a drug-resistant infection.

The FDA added nine products to its list of tejocote root or Brazil seeds supplements that contain toxic yellow oleander. Find the list here.

FDA warned consumers not to use copycat brands of Lumify eye drops (above). A picture of the genuine product is below. (FDA)

a box of Lumify eye drops

International News

Details emerge about a fake Xanax ring in Northern Ireland. Counterfeit oxytocin injections found in Nigeria. Fake antibiotics in India.

An article in British GQ described how the Northern Irish police and Pfizer Global Security located a counterfeit Xanax ring that sold hundreds of thousands of pills on the darkweb between 2015 and 2017.

Nigeria’s National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control warned about fake and unapproved oxytocin injections. The drug begins or improves contractions during labor and reduces bleeding after childbirth.

Indian authorities are investigating whether a Mumbai drug syndicate supplied the prescription pills that a Queens, New York ring illegally distributed to buyers across the U.S. between May 2018 and August 2019.

India’s Food and Drug Administration seized almost 22,000 counterfeit ciprofloxacin pills from a hospital in Nagpur. Officials reported that the fake antibiotics did not contain any medicine.

Counterfeit Xanax seized during the investigation of counterfeiters in the U.K. (South East Regional Organised Crime Unit(

Domestic News

A former doctor allegedly injected patients with adulterated nerve blocks. A Massachusetts resident gets 12 years for making and selling counterfeit pills.

A closeup of brightly colored supplement bottles with "Neptune's Fix" labels

In December, the FDA warned consumers not to use tianeptine products that had caused seizures and hospitalization.

A doctor in Monroeville, Pennsylvania has been indicted for allegedly violating the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act by injecting patients with nerve blocks that he had which he had mixed and placed into syringes under unsanitary conditions in his home.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers in Cincinnati seized a 12 pound shipment of tianeptine that was on its way from Hong Kong to Texas. The drug, which is not approved for use in the United States, can cause confusion, rapid heartbeat, high blood pressure, vomiting, slowed or stopped breathing, coma, and death.

A federal judge in Massachusetts sentenced Quenty Ogando to 12 years in prison for running a large-scale pill press operation that manufactured, sold and mailed counterfeit pills containing fentanyl, among other drugs. Investigators seized three pill presses, 22 kilograms of counterfeit pills, 11 kilograms of fentanyl, and other illicit drugs over the course of the three-month investigation, that ended in November 2022

Police in Shelby County, Alabama seized a pill press in December 2023.