Shipments containing ivermectin tablets and hydroxychloroquine tablets were recently seized by Chicago customs officials.
According to a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) press release, the seizure took place on October 4 at the International Mail Center at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport.
The press release said that while officers were performing an x-ray inspection of a package from China, “officers noticed some discrepancies.” The packaging indicated that it contained “decorative beads,” CBP said.
After officers noticed the anomalies in this package, they investigated further and found that instead of “decorative beads”, the package actually contained 100 ivermectin tablets.
Ivermectin, which is a drug often used in animals to fight parasites, has been hailed by some as an effective treatment for COVID-19. The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently warned that ivermectin is not an approved treatment for COVID-19 and can cause health problems in humans if misused.
“There are approved uses of ivermectin in humans and animals, but it is not approved for the prevention or treatment of COVID-19,” the FDA said on its website, adding that the drug is approved for human use to treat parasites, head lice and “skin conditions such as rosacea”.
In addition to the package from China, CBP said it intercepted another package from Mexico containing 32 additional ivermectin tablets and 40 hydroxychloroquine tablets.
Hydroxychloroquine had previously received emergency use authorization from the FDA for treatment for COVID-19, but in June, the agency revoked its authorization and warned against its use outside of a hospital.
CBP said in the press release that the two shipments were seized “for violation of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, which prohibits the introduction of any food, drug, device, tobacco product or falsified or mislabelled cosmetics “.
“These pills, which were mislabeled, were turned over to the FDA’s criminal investigation office for further investigation,” the press release added.
According to CBP, the first cargo seized was headed for Atlanta, Georgia, while the second was destined for St. Louis Park, Minnesota.
“These shipments are concerning. They were seized overnight and it is questionable whether this trend will continue,” Shane Campbell, regional manager of the Port of Chicago said in the press release.
Campbell continued, “Our officers are ready and will stop this threat before it can reach the public.”
CBP also said that prior to the two shipments seized on Monday, officers intercepted two more shipments containing 41 fraudulent COVID-19 vaccination cards. This is the third time this year that CBP officers in Chicago have seized shipments containing fake COVID-19 vaccination cards.
A CBP spokesperson said he had no further comment on the recent seizures.