CHICAGO – U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers assigned to O’Hare International Airport, International Mail Facility (IMF) intercepted packages containing prohibited medical drug kits arriving from the United Kingdom.
On March 17, 2020, CBP officers intercepted shipments containing “Test Kits” for various viruses and diseases to include COVID-19. Not all the COVID-19 test kits were in each parcel, and there was generally just one COVID-19 test kit within groups of other alleged test kits for meningitis, IVF, MRSA, onion, apple, salmonella and others. The shipment was turned over to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for analysis.
The Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FDCA) prohibits the introduction or delivery for introduction into interstate commerce, or the causing thereof, of any food, drug, device, tobacco product, or cosmetic that is adulterated or misbranded.
“CBP personnel have done a phenomenal job with intercepting these items,” said Lesley Lukens, Chief Supervisory Officer, International Mail Facility. “Each seizure provides additional insight into past, current and future smuggling trends to assist CBP with intercepting additional parcels containing similar items that are harmful to our personal health and national security.”
Authorized diagnostic testing for COVID-19 and other virus and diseases is conducted in verified state and local public health laboratories across the United States. The American public should be aware of counterfeit home testing kits for sale either online or in informal direct to consumer settings.
“Counterfeit products have serious consequences to everyone,” said Hans Leiterman, Assistant Area Port Director, Chicago. “CBP seizures of illegally imported counterfeit merchandise helps protect the health and safety of U.S. citizens, and the reputation of marketplaces involved in these transactions.”
Since March 1, 2020, CBP personnel at the Chicago IMF have processed 793 seizures within the arriving inbound international mail varying between intercepting narcotics (402 seizures), Intellectual Property Right/counterfeit goods (59 seizures), firearm suppressors (159 seizures), fraudulent identification documents (138 seizures totaling 9,122 fraudulent IDs), lottery mail (2 bulk seizures containing 603 scam letters) and counterfeit US currency (33 seizures totaling $1,185,300 dollars).