FDA, NTIA Partner to Remove Websites Selling Illegal Drugs

The Departments of Commerce (DoC) and Health and Human Services (HHS) are teaming up to take down websites that sell opioids illegally online through a new pilot program with three domain name registries.

Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and HHS’ Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will work with the domain name registries: Neustar (.us); Verisign (.com, .net); and Public Interest Registry (.org); during a 120-day pilot program to suspend websites’ domain names, which are found to be illegally selling opioids. FDA will serve as a “trusted notifier” to alert the registries about the illegal action on the websites. The registry can then take action to suspend, lock, or delete the domain.

“Cooperation between the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Commerce, with the addition of the pilot program, will help stop the online sale of illicit opioids and combat our country’s deadly addiction crisis,” said HHS Secretary Alex Azar. After the pilot period, NTIA, FDA, and the domain name registries will analyze the program’s effectiveness in order to see if the partnership should be continued.

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