BALTIMORE (WJZ) — U.S. Customs and Border Patrol seized illegal shipments of personal protective equipment, coronavirus tests and unapproved medicine at several ports, including the Port of Baltimore.
“Panic-stricken consumers and predatory scammers continue to purchase coronavirus protective and diagnostic equipment, and pharmaceuticals from the overseas marketplace that are either counterfeit or unapproved for use in the United States, and that pose a potentially serious health concern for American consumers,” said Ronald Stanley, CBP’s Acting Director of Field Operations in Baltimore.
“Customs and Border Protection will continue to work with our partners at the Food and Drug Administration to identify and seize these potentially hazardous medical products before they could harm American consumers.”
CBP agents were inspecting packages in Harrisburg, Pa when they seized a shipment of 1,200 Linhua Qingwen capsules that arrived from Hong Kong. Linhua Qingwen are being used to treat coronavirus patients, but their effectiveness is unknown and they remain unapproved medicine in the U.S.
Since March 23, CBP officers have seized the following at ports in Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, Harrisburg and Pittsburgh.
- more than 1,350 unapproved and counterfeit COVID-19 test kits;
- nearly 400 counterfeit N95 respirator masks;
- nearly 2,500 unapproved and potentially counterfeit medicines, including Hydroxychloroquine Sulfate, Chloroquine, Azithromycin, Lianhua Qingwen and Liushen Jiaonang; and
- more than 67,000 counterfeit ACCU-CHEK test strips.
These products were shipped from manufacturers and distributors in China, Hong Kong, South Korea, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Senegal, Germany and the United Kingdom and were addressed to places in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Virginia, Connecticut, and Florida.
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The products are not on the current Emergency Use Authorization List and the manufacturers aren’t on the list of firms who are complying with FDA regulations.