PHILADELPHIA CREAM – An American man returning home from the Dominican Republic has made his arrivals inspection of U.S. Customs and Border Protection much more difficult for himself after officers discovered his luggage was full of drugs for erectile dysfunction last Sunday at Philadelphia International Airport.
To be specific, CBP officers discovered 912 100mg tablets and 71 15ml vials of liquid, all labeled as sildenafil citrate, in the luggage of an American man who arrived on a flight from Santo Domingo, in the Dominican Republic. Sildenafil citrate is the generic name for Viagra, a popular erectile dysfunction drug, also known as the little blue pill.
CBP officers initially detected the pills during an in-flight inspection of baggage unloaded from the flight. Officers notified other officers at the CBP Federal Inspection Station who were waiting for the traveler to collect their baggage and then conducted a thorough examination of the secondary baggage.
The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which regulates pharmaceuticals, prohibits the importation of generic versions of FDA-approved drugs from foreign countries. According to the FDA, consumers have no guarantee that foreign versions of FDA-approved drugs were properly manufactured, are safe and effective, and have the same formulation as FDA-approved versions available in US pharmacies.
The FDA offers tips for traveling with medication. Travelers must have a valid prescription or doctor’s note written in English for medications they are bringing into the United States, and the medication must be in its original container with the doctor’s instructions printed on the bottle. The rule of thumb is to import no more than a 90 day supply.
Sildenafil citrate requires a prescription. The traveler admitted not having a prescription and CBP officers seized the drugs before releasing the traveler.
“Consumers may think they are getting deeply discounted pharmaceuticals from other countries, but drugs that are not FDA-approved can be a substandard product with unregulated ingredients and lead to potentially serious consequences. for consumer health and safety,” said Joseph Martella, CBP’s Area Port Manager for the Philadelphia Regional Port. “CBP strongly encourages all travelers to know what they can and cannot bring with them to the United States by visiting our travel website when planning your trip.”
The FDA also offers guidance on buy pharmaceuticals and dietary supplements from online pharmacies. Buying controlled substances through online vendors is risky not only to the health of the consumer, but also to their wallet. Prescription drugs made in unregulated foreign companies may contain dangerous contaminants or ineffective compounds, and while their packaging and labeling may be similar to genuine products, inconsistent ingredients and inferior quality controls may endanger the consumer.
Prescription drugs are among the most common inadmissible or prohibited items that passengers bring into the United States. Travelers are encouraged to visit CBP travel website for more information on prohibited or inadmissible products.
With international travel resuming post-COVID and the upcoming busy summer travel season, CBP urges all travelers to “know before you go” and learn tips for quickly clearing the CBP arrival inspection process.
CBP border security mission is directed through our nation’s 328 ports of entry by CBP officers from the Office of Field Operations. CBP officers screen international travelers and cargo and search for illicit narcotics, undeclared currency, weapons, counterfeit consumer goods, prohibited agricultural products, and other illicit products that could harm the American public, businesses Americans and to the security and economic vitality of our country. Find out what CBP has accomplished during “A typical day” in 2021.
Please visit CBP’s Ports of Entry to learn more about how CBP’s Office of Field Operations secures our nation’s borders. For more information about CBP, visit www.CBP.gov.
Follow the CBP Baltimore Field Office Director on Twitter at @DFOBaltimore for breaking news, current events, human interest stories and photos. Follow CBP’s Office of Field Operations on Instagram at @cbpfieldops.