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Dulles CBP Seizes 1,200 Tubes of Unapproved Topical Dermatological Steroid

Release Date: 
November 22, 2017

STERLING, Va., — U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers seized 1,200 tubes of Hyprogel ointment on Saturday from a traveler who arrived from Ghana November 11 at Washington Dulles International Airport.

CBP officers seized 1,200 tubes of Hyprogel at Washington Dulles International Airport November 18, 2017.
CBP officers seized 1,200 tubes of
Hyprogel at Washington Dulles
International Airport November 18,

CBP officers discovered the ointment during a baggage examination.  The ointment contains the active drug clobetasol propionate, which is a topical dermatological steroid used to treat skin disorders and auto-immune diseases.

The traveler reported that the ointment is used frequently in Ghana and that she brought it to give to friends in the United States.  She possessed no prescription for the ointment, nor authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to import the ointment in a quantity that exceeded a personal use amount.  CBP detained all 1,200 tubes and released the woman to continue her visit.

CBP consulted with the FDA, which is responsible for pharmaceutical admissibility determinations.  On November 14, FDA compliance officers requested that CBP seize the Hyprogel ointment as a new drug that the traveler imported into the United States without an effective new drug application.  Learn more about FDA rules on personal importation of drugs.

“As the nation’s border security agency, Customs and Border Protection is charged with enforcing hundreds of laws and regulations, including those governing consumer safety and the importation of prescription medicines, at our international ports of entry, and it’s a responsibility that we take very seriously,” said Elmer Jarava, CBP Acting Port Director for the Area Port of Washington Dulles. 

Almost a million times each day, CBP officers welcome international travelers into the U.S.  In screening both foreign visitors and returning U.S. citizens, CBP uses a variety of techniques to intercept narcotics, unreported currency, weapons, prohibited agriculture, and other illicit products, and to assure that global tourism remains safe and strong.

Hyprogel topical steroidal ointment

“Customs and Border Protection plays a critical role every day in helping to keep our communities safe by intercepting potential threats at our nation’s borders, and in facilitating legitimate trade and travel that helps to keep our economy strong.  It is a mission that CBP employees find both challenging and rewarding,” said Casey Owen Durst, CBP’s Field Operations Director in Baltimore, the agency’s operational commander in the mid-Atlantic region.

Travelers are encouraged to visit CBP’s Travel section to learn more about the CBP admissions process and rules governing travel to and from the U.S.

CBP’s Office of Field Operations

CBP's border security mission is led at ports of entry by CBP officers from the Office of Field Operations.  Please visit CBP Ports of Entry to learn more about how CBP’s Office of Field Operations secures our nation’s borders.

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Last modified: 
February 3, 2021