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Feds Seize $479K Worth of Illegal Contact Lenses

They found 26,477 pairs of undeclared or misdeclared decorative lenses.

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Feds Seize $479K Worth of Illegal Contact Lenses
Cincinnati CBP, in coordination with FDA, seized a total of 26,477 pairs of prohibited contact lenses arriving from Honk Kong and Japan.

CINCINNATI — Federal agents recently seized more than $479K worth of undeclared contact lenses.

Officers with U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration found 26,477 pairs of undeclared or misdeclared decorative contact lenses, according to a press release.

The prohibited contact lenses originated primarily from Hong Kong and Japan and were destined to addresses across the entire U.S. The cumulative manufacturer’s suggested retail price for the lenses was $479,082 had they been legally imported.

“Counterfeit products, such as these contact lenses, can contain toxic substances that can impact the public’s eyesight,” said LaFonda Sutton-Burke, director, Field Office-Chicago. “Counterfeiters have no moral compass and will counterfeit just about anything to make a buck. We have encountered counterfeit makeup, perfumes, toys, clothing, electronics, machinery parts, basically, anything in demand we’ve seen it. The movement of these goods into online marketplaces pose a significant risk to the American consumer.”

Cincinnati Port Director Richard Gillespie added: “When purchasing contact lenses from online sources, consumers should be aware of the dangers associated with buying unregulated commodities. Not only are they dangerous to your health and well-being, but often fund criminal enterprises one way or another. Our officers and agriculture specialists enforce laws for many partner agencies to stop illegal shipments from getting to consumers.”

Although most people buy decorative contact lenses to be used as accessories for Halloween costumes and the performing arts, the FDA emphasizes that all contact lenses are medical devices that require a valid prescription from a licensed optometrist and are not legally sold over the counter. If consumers suspect a vendor is illegally selling contacts or other medical products, they can report it to the FDA.

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