eBay has reached a $59 million settlement to resolve a lawsuit accusing the online marketplace of selling equipment utilized in the production of narcotic drugs.
The US Justice Department alleged that eBay sold thousands of pill presses and encapsulating machines, some of which ended up in the possession of individuals convicted of drug-related crimes, contributing to the ongoing opioid crises in several US states.
The lawsuit focused on eBay’s failure to comply with the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), which mandates companies to maintain detailed records and report them to the Drug Enforcement Administration. The pill presses sold on eBay have the capacity to produce thousands of pills per hour, and the machines can pack powder into capsules, enabling the creation of counterfeit pills, including those containing the dangerous fentanyl.
Despite denying the allegations, eBay chose to settle the case to avoid litigation costs and pledged to take additional measures to align with the CSA. In a statement, eBay emphasized its commitment to maintaining a safe and trusted marketplace for its global community of sellers and buyers.
Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta highlighted the significance of addressing the issue, stating that counterfeit pills laced with fentanyl are a substantial contributor to the deadly overdose epidemic in the US.
The drug crisis in the US is evident, with over 110,000 deaths attributed to drug overdose in 2022, according to the US Centers for Disease Control. More than 66% of these deaths were linked to fentanyl and related synthetic opioids.
The gravity of the situation led Oregon’s largest city, Portland, to declare a state of emergency on Tuesday due to the widespread abuse of fentanyl drugs. As eBay settles this significant case, the focus on combating the drug crisis remains a critical priority for law enforcement and public health officials.