eBay to Pay $59M Over Sales of Drug-Making Tools

    eBay to Pay $59M Over Sales of Drug-Making Tools
    Photo: Justin Sullivan/Staff/Getty Images News via Getty Images

    The Facts

    • Online auction site eBay on Wednesday announced a $59M settlement with the US Dept. of Justice (DOJ) over allegations eBay violated the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) by allowing the sale of thousands of pill presses and encapsulating machines on its website.

    • The government had also accused eBay of allowing the sale of counterfeit molds, stamps, and dies that are used to mimic real pharmaceuticals. In the settlement, eBay denied that it was subject to the CSA and didn't admit liability.


    The Spin

    Narrative A

    eBay chose to settle this case because it knew it had violated several government regulations, in particular the CSA. Hopefully, this financial penalty will deter the e-commerce giant from ever placing these items for sale again.

    Narrative B

    This settlement isn't an admission of guilt, but a way to avoid the cost of a lengthy legal battle. eBay continues to have a positive history of working voluntarily with law enforcement to take such products off its site. Customers can rest assured eBay will continue to provide safe and customer-focused service.


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