US Customs seize shipments of counterfeit PPE, unapproved COVID-19 drugs

U.S. Customs and Border Protection have been seizing shipments of counterfeit personal protective equipment and unapproved substances said to be medications for COVID-19 in the area.

The Baltimore Field Office of the CBP said in a statement Monday that last week they seized a shipment of 1,200 Linhua Qingwen capsules — their effectiveness against COVID-19 is unknown, the agency said, and they are still unapproved for use in the U.S. The parcel had been shipped from Hong Kong and was headed for an address in Union County, Pennsylvania.

That’s hardly the only case. Since March 23, CBP officers have seized 18 shipments at the Area Ports of Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington, and the Ports of Harrisburg and Pittsburgh.

These shipments combined have included:

  • 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, Linhua Qingwen and Liushen Jiaonang
  • More than 67,000 counterfeit ACCU-CHEK test strips.

The shipments came from China, Hong Kong, South Korea, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Senegal, Germany and the U.K., and were headed to addresses in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Virginia, Connecticut and Florida, the agency said.

“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,” Ronald Stanley, CBP’s acting director of field operations in Baltimore, said in the statement.

More Coronavirus News

Looking for more information? D.C., Maryland and Virginia are each releasing more data every day. Visit their official sites here: Virginia | Maryland | D.C.

Rick Massimo

Rick Massimo came to WTOP, and to Washington, in 2013 after having lived in Providence, R.I., since he was a child. He's the author of "A Walking Tour of the Georgetown Set" and "I Got a Song: A History of the Newport Folk Festival."

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