A Chinese medication, falsely advertising to treat COVID-19, was seized by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at the International Mail Facility at Chicago O’Hare International Airport on May 26.
A total of three parcels were seized, with each box containing 9,600 capsules of Lianhua Qingwen Jiaonang – a total of 28,800 capsules; equating to a domestic value of $28,797. While these capsules are being used to treat some COVID-19 patients, their effectiveness is unknown and they remain an unapproved medicine for use in the United States. All the shipments originated from China.
The pills were in violation of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, which prohibits the introduction of any food, drug, device, tobacco product, or cosmetic that is adulterated or misbranded. These pills, which were misbranded, were seized and turned over to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Office of Criminal Investigation for further investigation.
“A seizure of this quantity is significant because it protects the American people,” said Lesley Lukens, Supervisory CBP Officer. “The dangers of these capsules are catastrophic. It gives consumers a false sense of security, and the consumption of any medication without consulting your medical provider can be fatal.”
The FDA considers the sale and promotion of fraudulent COVID-19 products to be a threat to the public health. The FDA is particularly concerned that products that claim to cure, treat or prevent serious diseases like COVID-19 may cause consumers to delay or stop appropriate medical treatment, leading to serious and life-threatening harm.