Counterfeit Medicine News for the Week of June 8, 2020

picture of a non-contact thermometer and its packaging

An example of the black market thermometers CBP seized in Birmingham, AL last week.

Coronavirus fraud and counterfeit news: 

The Federal Trade Commission warned 16 multi-level marketing companies over false health and income claims related to the COVID-19 pandemic,, and the Internal Revenue Service warned consumers that its Criminal Investigation division has seen a variety of Economic Impact Payment and other scams.

Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents in Philadelphia, PA seized 10,000 unapproved KN-95 respirator masks, as well as other unapproved COVID-19 products. Their compatriots in Birmingham, AL confiscated nearly 500 infrared and non-contact thermometers that were falsely marked FDA-approved.

In prosecutions:

ProPublica reported that federal agencies have purchased “$11 million worth of Chinese-made masks, often with little attention to manufacturing details or rapidly evolving regulatory guidance about safety or quality” in the scramble to obtain PPE after the U.S. declared a national emergency on March 13th.


The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) announced a pilot project to reduce illegal online sales of opioids by coordinating with three participating internet registries to suspend or block websites that do not respond to FDA warnings in the required time frame.

Read PSM’s statement about the project.

Learn why domain name reform protects patients, and lend your support to this campaign.

Other Counterfeit News:

CBP officers seized 300,000 counterfeit fentanyl pills as part of a large multi-drug bust at the port of Nogales in Arizona.

Authorities in Alachua County, FL warned about overdoses as a result of counterfeit, fentanyl-laced oxycodone. According to news about a fentanyl poisoning death in Gillette, WY, fake oxycodone pills are also circulating in Wyoming.

Even as we are dealing with the pandemic, PSM is keeping a steady eye on public reports of dangerous counterfeit drugs. Check back for next week’s summary.