Combating unauthorized and counterfeit goods during the COVID-19 pandemic: the CBSA, Health Canada and RCMP announce the results of Project Purify
Today, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), Health Canada and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) announced the results of a Government of Canada initiative to combat unauthorized or counterfeit goods attempting to enter Canada through British Columbia.
Project Purify is a multi-departmental partnership between the CBSA, Health Canada and the RCMP, which was established to enhance the identification, interception and tracking of unauthorized or counterfeit COVID-19 health-related products in British Columbia between March 20th and June 30th, 2020.
During this period, over 380 shipments of unauthorized content or counterfeit COVID-19-related goods were detained at the border, including:
- 48,000 COVID-19 test kits;
- 4.5 million units of personal protective equipment;
- 33,000 prescription tablets and pills; and
- over 1,500 other intercepts of fraudulent and potentially dangerous products.
The CBSA seized mislabelled or improperly declared goods, and referred others to Health Canada, who then seized or refused entry.
When the CBSA detects unauthorized or counterfeit goods, these goods are referred to the RCMP to address safety and security concerns or Health Canada to address potential health risks.
“While some importers genuinely did not recognize that certain health products require specific permits and licenses, others tried to take advantage of the circumstances during the height of the pandemic and attempted to import potentially dangerous products into Canada for financial gains.
To prevent these goods from entering our communities, the CBSA partnered with Health Canada and the RCMP on Project Purify and this has proven to be extremely beneficial for British Columbians and all Canadians. The CBSA remains diligent and continues to screen all goods entering Canada.” – Yvette-Monique Gray, Director, Enforcement and Intelligence Division, Pacific Region, Canada Border Services Agency
To protect the health and safety of Canadians, Health Canada takes immediate action against any companies found to be selling unauthorized health products either online or in stores in Canada. Enforcement actions can range from directing that importers take corrective actions to comply with regulatory requirements to removing non-compliant products from the market. Health Canada also works closely with law enforcement agencies and may refer suspected illegal activity to them for further action.
Authorized health products have an eight-digit Drug Identification Number (DIN), Natural Product Number (NPN) or Homeopathic Drug Number (DIN-HM). Canadians can also verify that a product has been authorized for sale by searching Health Canada’s Drug Product Database or Licensed Natural Health Product Database. Class II-IV medical devices require a device license to be sold in Canada and can be verified by searching Health Canada’s Medical Devices Active Licence Listing (MDALL).