Amazon reportedly had dozens of listings for doping drugs, but told reporters they were allowed for ‘research’ despite being shown evidence of human use
Amazon has a policy prohibiting sellers in its online marketplace from hawking injectable drugs.
But according to a report Thursday from investigative outlet The Markup, dozens of listings for doping drugs are still slipping through the cracks.
The Markup discovered 66 listings for peptides that aren’t approved by the FDA, have been banned by the World-Anti Doping Agency, are illegal in some states, and violate Amazon’s ban.
Amazon did not respond to a request for comment on this story.
This isn’t the first time the outlet has alerted Amazon to the issue of peptide listings on its site. After contacting the company in May about the drugs and evidence that people appeared to be injecting them, an Amazon spokesperson told The Markup that it was “not true that we sold injectable drugs.”
“We did sell lab chemicals that were clearly marketed as being for research use only and not for human consumption,” the spokesperson told The Markup, though he added: “Out of an abundance of caution we are restricting them going forward.”
But when contacted again about more recent findings, a different Amazon spokesperson told The Markup that the drugs are “allowed in our store for laboratory or research use only and not for human injection or consumption,” even though the outlet had presented contradictory evidence that people were, in fact, consuming them.
“We do not sanction customer misuse or abuse of products,” the spokesperson told The Markup, again adding: “Out of an abundance of caution, we decided to no longer allow these products and have been removing them since, as we have in this case.”
As Amazon’s marketplace has grown in recent years — particularly the number of third-party sellers — so has its challenge keeping fraudulent, unsafe, illegal, and defective products off its site.
Amazon has various human and technological approaches to sussing out such products, but dozens of media and watchdog reports as well as legal cases over the years have documented how the e-commerce giant has struggled to police its platform, which has millions of third-party sellers.
The company has claimed in the past that it is not liable for harm to consumers who buy these types of products because it merely facilitates the sale, but regulators and courts are growing increasingly skeptical of that defense.
A California court ruled last month that Amazon is legally liable for defective products sold on its site by third parties after a woman alleged in a lawsuit that she was “severely burned” when a laptop charger she bought on Amazon exploded. State legislators are now considering a bill that would reaffirm that ruling as law.
The growing pressure on Amazon to crack down on harmful and fraudulent products on its site mirrors a similar trend with other “tech platforms” such as Uber, Lyft, and social media companies, which have also faced more pressure from regulators and lawmakers.