CINCINNATI, Mich. — Cincinnati U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers seized more than $479,000 worth of illegal contact lenses during a special operation last month.
The operation focused on misbranded contact lenses and involved CBP officers, U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Office of Criminal Investigation special agents and FDA consumer safety officers. The goal was to “identify and intercept illegal contact lenses being imported into the United States.”
CBP officers say they found a total of 26,477 pairs of undeclared or mis-declared decorative contact lenses arriving from Hong Kong and Japan. The contact lenses were headed to addresses across the entire U.S., according to CBP officers.
They say the cumulative Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) for the contact lenses, had they been legally imported, was $479,082.
“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.”
The FDA emphasizes that all contact lenses are medical devices that require a prescription from a licensed optometrist and are not legally sold over the counter.