CINCINNATI—Throughout the first month of 2022, Cincinnati U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers seized 11 shipments of unapproved cosmetic treatments such as Botox, Juvederm, Restylane, and other fillers. Injectable cosmetic treatments are regulated by U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), because unapproved products can contain unknown ingredients that may be ineffective or dangerous.
The 11 illegal shipments originated in China, South Korea, Bulgaria, and Czech Republic with ultimate destinations in many states including Florida, Texas, and New Mexico. The largest shipment, which came from China, contained 100 vials of Botox botulinum vials—or about 12,500 injections. Had the products been genuine and FDA-approved, the combined value for all the prohibited injectables would have been $170,545.
“Consumer health and safety are our key concerns when Customs and Border Protection officers enforce cosmetic imports,” said LaFonda D. Sutton-Burke, Director, Field Operations-Chicago. “Counterfeit products that you inject could seriously hurt you. They are manufactured in unregulated and unsanitary facilities with ingredients that you cannot be sure are authentic.”
Used under the direction of licensed medical professionals, cosmetic injectables can treat health problems such as migraines, and aesthetic concerns like fine lines and wrinkles. The shipments CBP seized in Cincinnati included these injectables:
CBP works in conjunction with FDA to intercept illegal shipments like these from entering the commerce of the United States. Consumers may think they are getting a “great deal” by purchasing cosmetic treatments online from third party sellers, but it is impossible to determine the products’ safety, efficacy, or legitimacy. CBP recommends consumers purchase regulated cosmetic products from reputable sources, and ensure they are administered by properly trained and licensed medical professionals.
“Pirated goods, such as unapproved Botox, threaten our economy and put American consumers at risk,” said Cincinnati Port Director Richard Gillespie. “Our officers and specialists enforce hundreds of laws for many partner agencies and are committed to ensuring the health and safety of American citizens.”
“The FDA is especially concerned about the illegal importation of injectable prescription medications as these drug products may pose a significant risk to public health. Like the products seized by our partners at CBP, there is no way to know whether these products were made under good manufacturing practice conditions, and sterility of these products are not always assured,” said Assistant Commissioner for Import Operations Dan Solis. “Injectable prescription drug products should only be used under the supervision of medical professionals able to assess product and package quality and monitor patients for potential adverse effects. Our strong relationship with CBP enables the kind of collaborative work necessary to best apply each agency’s authority and enforcement tools and prevent potentially dangerous medical products from entering the US.”
CBP provides basic import information about admissibility requirements and the clearance process for e-commerce goods and encourages buyers to confirm that their purchases and the importation of those purchases comply with any state and federal import regulations.