More counterfeit COVID-19 tests seized in US

Customs and Border Protection officers seized counterfeit COVID-19 test kits at Rochester airport in New York during the inspection of express-consignment shipments.

This is the latest in several shipments that have contained counterfeit test kits that have not been approved by the FDA, according to CBP. There were 25 kits in the latest shipment, but since March officers at Rochester airport have seized more than 600 fake COVID-19 tests.

The FDA has issued emergency use authorisation (EUA) to about 50 companies that are allowed to develop and distribute COVID-19 test kits. However, the companies that created the test kits in these shipments have not been approved to sell them in the US.

Cincinnati also a hot spot

In Cincinnati, CBP officers have made 62 seizures, a total of 29,438 kits, with 52 shipments still awaiting FDA review. These kits had a domestic value of $588,760. These seizures contained counterfeit kits, as well as unapproved and prohibited test kits. Some of the larger seizures were seizures of 5,000 kits and then three other seizures of 2,000 kits a piece.

Meanwhile, since the beginning of the pandemic CBP at Chicago O’Hare’s International Mail Facility has seized 11 shipments containing 1,147 prohibited test kits, mainly from the UK. Other seizures have been made in Louisville and Indianapolis.

In March, a UK man was charged with selling counterfeit COVID-19 treatment kits to customers around the world, soon after reports started to emerge of fake kits being seized in the US and other countries.

“Criminals are exploiting the COVID-19 pandemic for illegal financial gain,” says the CBP. “These criminals are smuggling and selling counterfeit safety equipment, unapproved testing kits, medicines, and hygiene products to individuals.”

To combat this, CBP is targeting imports and exports – mainly in the international mail and express consignment cargo environments – that may contain counterfeit or illicit goods.

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