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Drug Watch List:
Trending Pharmaceuticals and Psychoactive Substances

Pharmaceuticals and psychoactive substances are difficult for any merchant acquirer to navigate. Although this is not a new problem for the payments industry, the legal status of these products is complicated, nuanced,
and often country-specific. If left undetected, illicit pharmaceuticals and psychoactive substances can lead to large fines.

This list is intended to help alleviate some of the guesswork by describing common forms, brand names, uses, and merchant profiles, as well as tips and tricks to help improve underwriting. The “Pharmaceuticals” section is US-specific, but the “Psychoactives” section applies globally.

This document covers:

  • Trending pharmaceuticals and illegal drugs
  • Where these illegal substances are commonly found online
  • Common brands and alternative names
  • Drug uses and effects
  • Additional drug and regulatory information

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