US CBP seize 78 shipments of unapproved cosmetic treatments

In the last two weeks, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers in Cincinnati seized 78 shipments of unapproved cosmetic treatments such as Botox, Juvéderm, and other fillers. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates injectable cosmetic treatments. Products like these can have unknown ingredients that may potentially cause harm to the consumer.

The shipments originated in Bulgaria, Spain, China, Hong Kong, and Korea enroute to destinations throughout the United States including Oregon, South Carolina, New York, and Florida to name a few. A single shipment of Botox, which came from Hong Kong, held 10 vials of Botox botulinum —or about 1,500 injections.  Had the products been genuine and FDA-approved, the value for the prohibited injectables would have been $9,000 in this single shipment. The value of all seized injectable shipments in the last two weeks would have had a combined value of $175,399.

When these products are used under the direction of licensed medical professionals, cosmetic injectables can treat an array of health problems and serve their purpose treating aesthetic concerns such as smoothing wrinkles on the face. A multitude of shipments were seized by CBP officers in Cincinnati that contained the following injectables:

  • Botox
  • Juvederm
  • Meditoxin
  • Radiessa
  • Dermalax
  • Neuramis
  • Restylane
  • Hutox
  • Sculptra

CBP enforces hundreds of laws for partner agencies such as the FDA to ensure the American citizens are safe and protected from illicit goods. Consumers need to be aware of the risks taken when buying from third party sellers and the unknows of the products ingredients. CBP recommends consumers purchase regulated cosmetic products from reputable sources, and ensure they are administered by properly trained and licensed medical professionals.

“Purchasing unapproved injectables, such as Botox, is a health and safety risk,” said Cincinnati Port Director Richard Gillespie. “Cheaper is not always better, especially when it concerns your family’s health and welfare. The officers in Cincinnati diligently work to intercept illegal shipments and ensure safety to the American people.”

“The FDA is especially concerned about the illegal importation of injectable prescription medications as these drugs may pose a significant risk to patients. Like the drugs seized by our partners at CBP, there is no way to know whether these drugs were made under good manufacturing practice conditions, and sterility of these products are not always assured,” said Assistant Commissioner for Import Operations Dan Solis. “Injectable prescription drugs should only be used under the supervision of medical professionals able to assess product and package quality and monitor patients for potential adverse effects. Our strong relationship with CBP enables the kind of collaborative work necessary to best apply each agency’s authority and enforcement tools and prevent potentially dangerous medical products from entering the U.S.”