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CBP Cincinnati Seizes $757,000 Worth of Viagra, Cialis, Levitra

Release Date: 
February 2, 2022

CINCINNATI—Since January 1st, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers have seized 21 shipments of improperly imported Viagra, Cialis, and Levitra transiting through the Port of Cincinnati. Officers found approximately 32,556 pills of the prescription drugs in shipments of vitamins, supplements, watches, and other medications. The shipments also contained 1,050 packets of jellies and honey—“miracle honey”—laced with sildenafil, the active ingredient in Viagra.

Viagra
CBP officers in Cincinnati seized more than 32,000  pills of
improperly  imported erectile dysfunction medication 
during January

Originating from China, India, Malaysia, or Sudan, the medications were headed to individuals in nine states, including Indiana and Kentucky. Had they been legally sold, the pills, jellies, and honey would have been worth nearly $757,000.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) works with CBP to protect consumers from products marketed as dietary supplements that contain any hidden drug ingredients. Because only three percent of online pharmacies reviewed by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy are in compliance with U.S. pharmacy laws and practice standards, purchasing drugs online is risky not only for the consumer’s health, but also their wallet.

“The FDA is concerned about the illegal importation of prescription medications as these drug products may pose a significant risk to patients. Like the products seized by our partners at CBP, these products are not always made under good manufacturing practice conditions,” said Assistant Commissioner for Import Operations Dan Solis. “Prescription drugs should only be used under the supervision of licensed health care professional who is able to identify appropriate therapies for patients and monitor for potential side effects. Our strong relationship with CBP enables this kind of collaborative work and results that best apply each agency’s authority and enforcement tools and protect consumers from potentially dangerous medical products entering the U.S.” 

“This is a dangerous game consumers are playing that could have disastrous results,” said LaFonda D. Sutton-Burke, Director, Field Operations-Chicago. “Consumers are purchasing these prescription medications from other countries thinking they are getting them at a discount, when in fact they are purchasing an inferior product with unregulated ingredients.”

E-commerce trade has soared throughout the pandemic, expanding foreign sellers’ market access to the United States. However, these sellers may not have all pertinent information to comply with U.S. admissibility laws, and drugs made in foreign facilities may lack necessary oversight and good manufacturing practices ensuring patient safety. Prescription drugs sold in the U.S. must conform to the FDA’s high standards, protecting consumers from dangerous irregularities in drug potency.

“CBP will continue to investigate and take action against counterfeit and misclassified goods that post a threat to our economy and our citizens,” said Cincinnati Port Director Richard Gillespie. “We work closely with FDA and other partner government agencies to provide comprehensive border enforcement in support of national security.”

As the largest federal law enforcement agency in the United States, CBP has a vast, complex, and dynamic mission faced with constantly changing threats. By being continuously watchful and alert, CBP is dedicated to facilitating lawful trade and travel and protecting the homeland and its people.

Follow CBP on Twitter @CBPChicago and @DFOChicago.

Last modified: 
February 2, 2022