Import rules are very rigid and strict in the US, because products of any type and variety can enter the US. The US being the world’s largest consumer economy; manufacturers and marketers from around the world vie for a chunk of this market. The FDA, being the agency that regulates a myriad of products, has rules for imports to the US, which have been toughened of late.
The total number of lines imported to the US more than doubled from 2006, when it was at 15 million lines, to over 35 million in 2016 (The FDA considers a distinct product within a shipment as a line). The FDA’s vigil on products that enter the US and by consumed by Americans is quite understandable: in the fiscal year 2016; among all the imported lines that entered the US; about half consisted of medical devices, and about a third, of foods, both of which are very crucial to human health.
Rules relating to import of drugs
Another core component of US imports is drugs, which is also extremely crucial to humans. The FDA has very stringent rules for the import of drugs. it does not consider the regulatory approval of any other regulatory agency as acceptable in the US. It considers only regulation of drugs by it as the criterion for accepting imports of drug products. In some cases, however, it relaxes these rules, subject to the condition that the stock of the drug may only be shipped for three months of treatment at a time:
The FDA has now collaborated with the Customs and Border Patrol Service (CBP), putting even tougher import rules in place. The FDA has not only got tougher in its import rules; it has become even more sophisticated in tracking and detecting importers who violate its rules. New rules require importers to submit many kinds of information and to adhere to set procedures laid out by the government in this regard.
Strict when it comes to penal actions, tooWith the FDA tightening its grip on imports; a foreign manufacturer whose products come under an FDA Import Alert is up against a hill when it comes to importing its products into the U.S. The FDA and the CBP can delay, detain or refuse its shipment or detain a shipment of a company that violates these rules.
The consequences of having a shipment detained by the FDA can bring its adverse consequences:
- Tougher FDA import rules arm the FDA with the power to begin a potentially long drawn out and expensive legal process
- It will have very little time to respond to queries from the FDA or the CBP. Not responding in time invites further penalties
- A fine that is three times the value of the goods contained in the shipment may be imposed
- At times, their product can be seized ty the government and destroyed
- If a violating importer receives a release but cannot locate the product that has been sold, it should bring the products back to the port of entry and face adverse legal steps
A few remedial measures
The only real antidote to avert profound consequences of the FDA’s tougher import rules is to be aware of the rules in their entirety. A company that has a sound understanding of the legal and prior notice information requirements has a safe passage compared to a company that doesn’t.