How to format/repair a write-protected USB drive with I/O errors?

I ordered a bunch of 1GB usb drives from a semi-shady Chinese company. Most of them work just fine, but a couple of them won't let me format them because they are "write-protected." There is no write protection switch on the device. I have exhaustively tried the following:

- Windows format: "The disk is write protected"
- HP USB Disk Storage Format Tool: "Device media is write-protected"
- diskpart clear attributes readonly: nothing
- diskpart clean: "Diskpart has encountered an error: The request could not be performed because of an I/O device error. See the System Event Log for more information." (The System Event Log only contains the error: The IO operation at logical block address 0 for Disk 1 was retried.)
- HDD Low Level Format Tool: "Format Error occurred at offset 985,595,904: 1117 - Device I/O error" and hundreds of similar errors
- Sacrificing a lamb to the USB gods
- Starting in safe mode with command prompt and running format, diskpart, and chkdsk

So do all these I/O device errors mean that these USB drives are just totally screwed? Is there any way to get more information about the problem?
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