U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at the O’Hare International Airport international mail facility seized medication from China. The medication made claims it could treat COVID-19, violating FDA laws and therefore seized by CBP. CBP seized a total of 9,600 capsules of “Lianhua Qingwen Jiaonang”. According to various sources online, Lianhua Qingwen Jiaonang is a combination of dozens of herbs in capsule form. According to CBP, the shipment contained an estimated value of $28,797.
In late August, the Chinese government said they would reduce the penalties for the sale and import of unapproved drugs, thereby improving access to cheaper generic pharmaceuticals from other countries. This action was taken to allow greater affordable drugs for chronic diseases increasingly impacting the Chinese population.
The reduction in penalties is set to take effect on December 1st. Current penalties for people selling drugs that are not approved by the National Medical Products Administration could result in a fine and criminal prosecution with jail sentences up to 3 years.
For example, under the new law, cheaper generic drugs made outside of China could be imported and sold in China. One drug cited in the article was the Indian version of the lung-cancer drug Iressa cost $10 a day in 2016, compared with $100 a day for the patented drug in China. He said generic drugs cost, on average, 97 percent less than patented drugs sold in China.
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