News Releases

ASOP Global Commends USTR for Identifying Bad Actors in Domain Name Industry

Annual Notorious Markets Report calls out “safe haven” registrars for enabling illegal activity and risks to public health and safety

WASHINGTON – May 5, 2020 – In response to the release of the Office of the United States Trade Representative’s (USTR) annual Special 301 Report on Intellectual Property Protection and Review of Notorious Markets for Counterfeiting and Piracy, ASOP Global issued the following statement today:


Criminal actors peddling counterfeit and unapproved pharmaceuticals and unproven “cures” online put consumers at risk. These risks have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic in light of the thousands of new COVID-themed health and financial scams online.


ASOP Global is pleased that USTR continues to call attention to the role domain name registrars play in online markets that engage in and facilitate public health crime and fraud online. ASOP Global commends USTR for its inclusion of domain name registrars that have not adopted practices that would protect consumers and increase public health and safety.


In particular, ASOP Global commends USTR for identifying companies within in the domain name industry like Hosting Concepts B.V. and Regional Network Information Center JSC that are known suppliers of domains used by illegal online pharmacies. These “safe haven” registrars, which have been included in previous USTR Notorious Markets Reports, knowingly violate the terms and conditions of their own service agreements, allowing registrants to continue to use domain names to illegally sell prescription drugs and, in some cases, controlled substances. This practice enables illegal activity to continue and places profits ahead of public health and safety.


ASOP Global urges further action to protect patients online, including legislation requiring registrars to lock and suspend domain names used for illegal purposes and to provide open access to accurate WHOIS records.


ASOP Global looks forward to continued collaboration with USTR to address the illegal online sale of dangerous – and potentially deadly – drugs online.



The Alliance for Safe Online Pharmacies (ASOP Global) is a 501(c)(4) non-profit organization headquartered in Washington, D.C. with activities in U.S., Canada, Europe, Latin America and Asia. ASOP Global is dedicated to protecting consumers around the world, ensuring safe access to medications, and combating illegal online drug sellers. ASOP Global has an expansive membership including non-profit public health organizations, international members, pharmacy members, as well as pharmaceutical manufacturers.