Shipments Containing Ivermectin, Hydroxychloroquine Seized by Customs Officials in Chicago

Shipments containing Ivermectin tablets and Hydroxychloroquine pills were recently seized by customs officials in Chicago.

According to a press release from Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the seizure happened at the international mail facility within Chicago's O'Hare International Airport on October 4.

The press release said that while officers were conducting an x-ray inspection of a package from China, "officers noticed some discrepancies." The package stated that it contained "decorative beads," CBP said.

After officers noticed the discrepancies within this package, they conducted a further investigation and discovered that instead of "decorative beads," the package actually contained 100 tablets of Ivermectin.

Ivermectin, which is a drug often used in animals to combat parasites, has been praised by some as an effective treatment against COVID-19. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently warned that Ivermectin is not an approved treatment against COVID-19 and can cause health issues in humans if used improperly.

"There are approved uses for ivermectin in people 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 that they intercepted another package arriving from Mexico that contained 32 more Ivermectin tablets and 40 Hydroxychloroquine pills.

Hydroxychloroquine was previously given emergency use authorization from the FDA for treatment against COVID-19 but on June, the agency repealed its authorization and warned against using it outside of a hospital setting.

CBP said in the press release that both shipments were seized "for violating the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, which prohibits the introduction of any food, drug, device, tobacco product, or cosmetic that is adulterated or misbranded."

"These pills, which were misbranded, were turned over to the FDA Office of Criminal Investigation for further investigation," the press release added.

According to CBP, the first seized shipment was heading to Atlanta, Georgia, while the second was destined for St. Louis Park, Minnesota.

"These shipments are concerning. These were seized in just one night and you have to wonder if this trend will continue," Shane Campbell, Area Port Director – 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 other shipments that contained 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 spokesperson for CBP said they had no further comment on the recent seizures.

Two shipments containing Ivermectin and Hydroxychloroquine were seized by Customs officials in Chicago. Above, a healthcare worker shows a box containing a bottle of Ivermectin, in Cali, Colombia, on July 21, 2020. Luis Robayo/Getty