The U.S. Customs and Border Patrol said it has seized more than $2.5 million worth of counterfeit or unapproved COVID-19 medications, test kits and face masks from 11 different countries in the past six weeks.
The materials were confiscated from Mid-Atlantic port cities such as D.C., Baltimore, Philadelphia and Harrisburg, Pa., the agency said in a news release.
Since Aug. 13, CBP officers have confiscated 58,846 counterfeit face masks during 21 seizures; 916 tablets of coronavirus-related medications during two seizures; and 134 COVID-19 test kits and antibody tests during six seizures, the agency said.
The face masks were trademark violations of multiple designer brands, sports teams, vehicle manufacturers, cartoon characters and other entities. Authentic merchandise of that type would be worth $2,553,000 at the manufacturer’s suggested retail price, the agency said.
Because they are not listed on the present Emergency Use Authorization List nor are the manufacturers on the FDA’s list of compliant firms, the test kits and medications are considered to be unlawful.
“The volume of counterfeit COVID-19 face masks is astonishing and further evidence that predatory scammers will take advantage of an international pandemic to line their greedy pockets by peddling illicit and dangerous products as legitimate COVID-19 personal protective equipment,” said Casey Durst, director of field operations for the customs service’s Baltimore Field office. “Customs and Border Protection officers remain committed to working with our consumer safety partners and protecting American consumers by intercepting these potentially harmful shipments.”