First Administrative Penalty on a Delivery Company for Transporting Fake Medicine

For decades, some delivery companies, branches and their employees have committed illegal acts in terms of real-name mailing, incoming package inspection and implementation of the provisions on mailing of prohibited articles, in order to seek long-term stable business and high interests. Some express or logistics companies have conspired with the counterfeits production and sale gangs, forming a tight chain of interests. But they always got off lightly. A large amount of counterfeit drugs or illegal drugs were transported through express delivery.


Case introduction


Jin, a delivery man, knew that Yang was using a fake identity to sell fake medicines, but still helped Yang in packaging, receiving, delivering and mailing drug products and gained additional profit. Jin was an accomplice in the crime of selling fake drug products. Yang and Jin should be subject to both criminal and civil liabilities according to the laws.


In the handling of the criminal part of the case, it was noticed that that the delivery company, with which Jin worked, committed illegal acts in terms of checking the identity of the sender, such as real name and address, incoming package inspection and implementation of the provisions on mailing of prohibited articles. Further investigation into the relevant fake medicines criminal judgments in the past three years revealed that the delivery company mostly used in fake drug transactions across the country is the company with which Jin worked.


In parallel to investigating criminal and civil liabilities, we filed a complaint against the delivery company with the Shanghai Railway Transport Procuratorate. The Shanghai Railway Transport Procuratorate initiated an administrative public interest lawsuit, urging the administrative organ to perform its regulatory duties against transport of drugs, advancing the logistics enterprise to implement the real-name mailing management system and perform responsibilities of article inspections.  


Given the branch of the delivery company in this case is located in Harbin, the Shanghai Railway Transport Procuratorate cooperated with the Shanghai Postal Administration to transfer the evidential materials to the Heilongjiang Provincial Postal Administration. Finally, the Harbin Municipal Postal Administration of Heilongjiang Province imposed the administrative penalties on the branch for its delivering counterfeit medicines, according to the 'Postal Law of the People's Republic of China'.

First Administrative Penalty on a Delivery Company for Transporting Fake MedicineFirst Administrative Penalty on a Delivery Company for Transporting Fake Medicine



Harbin Postal Administration imposed an administrative penalty on the delivery company on 5 March 2021:

1. Order it to carry out rectification immediately, train employees based on the “Regulations on the Articles Prohibited for Delivery” and “Guidance Catalogue of Articles Prohibited for Delivery”, standardize the mailing system, and submit a written rectification report to Harbin Postal Administration within 15 days upon receipt of the administrative penalty decision;

2. Stop operations for 30 days for internal rectification.


Social influence


After the administrative penalty, the Shanghai Railway Transport Procuratorate held a case briefing on 18 March 2021, and many mainstream media such as Xinhua News Agency, Jiefang Daily, Legal Daily, Procuratorate Daily, and The Paper attended the meeting. 


First Administrative Penalty on a Delivery Company for Transporting Fake MedicineFirst Administrative Penalty on a Delivery Company for Transporting Fake MedicineFirst Administrative Penalty on a Delivery Company for Transporting Fake Medicine



On 22 June 2021, the Market Supervision Department of the State Post Bureau conducted a regulatory talk with the delivery company regarding its delivery of dangerous and prohibited items. The delivery company was required to strengthen the risk management and control of express delivery, strictly conduct real-name delivery, check the items in the packages before sending them, to ensure all packages go through security check machines.    


First Administrative Penalty on a Delivery Company for Transporting Fake Medicine


On 4 March 2022, this case was awarded as 'a model case where the procuratorial authorities legally punished crimes of endangering drug safety” since 2019 by the Supreme People's Procuratorate.


First Administrative Penalty on a Delivery Company for Transporting Fake Medicine



On 22 June 2022, this case was listed in the '2021-2022 Top Ten Cases of Intellectual Property Protection' by the Quality Brands Protection Committee of China Association of Enterprises with Foreign Investment.  


First Administrative Penalty on a Delivery Company for Transporting Fake MedicineFirst Administrative Penalty on a Delivery Company for Transporting Fake MedicineFirst Administrative Penalty on a Delivery Company for Transporting Fake Medicine 


Our View 


In previous cases involving counterfeit medicines, more emphasis was placed on cracking down on the producers and sellers of counterfeit medicines, while delivery companies got off lightly. This case is the first administrative public interest litigation against supervision of fake medicine transportation. This resulted in a typical case where the delivery company has been held to account for transporting counterfeiting products, increased the illegal and criminal costs of the production and sale of counterfeit gangs. This case is also a powerful interpretation of the 'Four Most Stringent' requirements adopted for drug safety supervisions, i.e., the most stringent standards, the strictest supervision, the most severe punishments, and the most serious accountability. It also reflects that the judicial and administrative departments have fully implemented their duties in accordance with the law through cross-departmental linkage and cross-provincial cooperation. This case provides a warning to the entire delivery and logistics industry, and forces the industry to take the initiative to enhance the awareness of legal risk prevention. Pursuing accountability of delivery companies will effectively promote delivery companies to strengthen internal supervision, establish a communication and dialogue mechanism with relevant enterprises or law enforcement agencies, and promptly and actively share the suspected network information of manufacturing and selling counterfeit drugs. It will facilitate the enterprises and law enforcement agencies to control and investigate, cut off the network of manufacturing and selling counterfeit drugs, and provide maximum protection for the drug safety of patients.


When safeguarding the legitimate rights and interests on behalf of rights holders, we always insist on full chain and all-round actions, and exhaust all legal means to crack down on illegal acts. While at the investigation stage before the public security organ, we requested the police to collect evidence on the assistance of the delivery company/staff, which laid a solid foundation for later investigation of criminal, administrative and civil responsibilities. When at the stage of the procuratorate, we actively communicate with prosecutors, discuss the feasibility of initiating civil and administrative liability investigations, organize case materials, and provide legal opinions on difficult issues.


This case is very innovative in both fixing evidence and application of law. It achieved the goals expected by all the participants and also produced very good social effects. The achievement of this result depends on the support of the rights holders, and the active actions of the judicial and administrative organs. It will also inspire us to continue to work hard in accordance with our established practice philosophy.



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