02.10.20

SCHUMER REVEALS: DESPITE FED WARNING ‘DOLLAR’ STORES ACROSS ERIE COUNTY & WESTERN NEW YORK ARE STILL STOCKING CHEAP, DANGEROUS, CHINA-MADE, OVER-THE-COUNTER DRUGS & PRODUCTS THAT COULD MAKE YOU SICK—OR WORSE; SENATOR DEMANDS FEDS HONE IN ON WNY STORES & URGES 85 LOCAL STORES TO CHECK THE SHELVES & TOSS WHAT’S BAD

Since Launching A Push For A Fed Crackdown On China’s Ability To Ship Bad OTC Products To New York, Schumer Is Applying Heat On The 85 Dollar Stores In Western New York That Should Heed FDA Warning & Stop Accepting Shoddy & Potentially Dangerous Chinese Products In The First Place

WNY Has 33 ‘Dollar Tree’ Stores & 52 ‘Family Dollar’ Stores; Some Stores Are STILL Stocking China-Made Products That Could Spell Trouble For WNY-ers       

Schumer: If WNY Dollar Stores Won’t Stop Stocking Chinese Drugs, Like Topicals & Cosmetics, The FDA Should Come Down With More Force

Standing outside a Cheektowaga Family Dollar, U.S. Senator Charles Schumer continued his push for the feds to stop the import of potentially dangerous and Chinese-manufactured ‘Dollar’ store products that could make people sick—or worse. Schumer sounded a special alarm in Western New York and reveal that some dollar stores here are STILL stocking some of the cheap, dangerous and China-made over-the-counter products he first warned about before the holidays. Schumer said Erie County dollar stores should get the same kind of shelf sweeps that some Manhattan Dollar Tree and Family Dollar stores performed on the heels of his push, and not be left out.

“We are here in Cheektowaga to make a public health push related to questionable products on Dollar store shelves that could be really bad for people,” said U.S. Senator Charles Schumer. “After we pushed Dollar Tree stores in Manhattan on this issue, they were seen clearing the shelves, but we can’t do this store-by-store, the company needs to do it on its own and the Food and Drug Administration needs to keep the pressure on. The stores across Western New York should not be allowed to continue receiving these questionable or even dangerous over-the-counter drugs, and that’s where Customs and Border Protection need to hold them to account, too.”

Schumer said that after a pre-holiday push in Harlem, Dollar Tree employees began removing bad products from the shelves immediately, and that some customers were told to put products they were cashing out down. Schumer said it should not take a visit to every bargain dollar store on Staten Island to deliver a serious message to the companies about the importance of product safety. Schumer said many of the bargain over-the-counter (OTC) drugs have long been known to be manufactured in unsafe conditions and that no New York retailer—not a single one—should be stocking or receiving them to begin with. Schumer demanded Western New York dollar stores stop stocking the Chinese drugs, like topicals and some cosmetics, and that if they do not, that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) should come down with more force, along with Customs.

"To stem the continued influx of questionable and potentially unsafe over-the-counter drugs from being stocked on New York bargain store shelves, I’ve asked the FDA and CBP to begin a targeted crackdown and answer new questions about the scope of the problem and the measures in place to prevent this from happening again with Dollar Tree or any other bargain store in Westren New York and beyond, and while we are still waiting for a formal answer, I have confidence these agencies will continue to act.” Schumer added.    

Schumer said there is no telling exactly which Dollar Tree or Family Dollar stores or any other subsidiaries are shelving the questionable drug products, so Schumer continues to call out the more than 85 relevant storefronts across Chautauqua, Cattaraugus, Erie, and Niagara Counties. And he revealed questionable products purchased right in Western New York, including OTC creams, gels and even makeup. Schumer says these products can be dangerous and should not be on shelves.

According to dermatological experts, using tainted or unsafe OTC topicals can lead to minor and serious medical conditions from uncomfortable irritation and rashes, to even infection.

The numbers of Dollar Tree and Family Dollar stores throughout Western New York are detailed in the table below.

 

Dollar Tree

Family Dollar

Erie

19

37

Niagara

6

11

Chautauqua

5

2

Cattaraugus

3

2

Total

33

52

Schumer’s original letter to the CBP and the FDA, which has yet to receive a response, appears below.

Dear Acting Commissioner Morgan:

I write to express serious concerns regarding reports of a possible influx of unsafe over-the-counter (OTC) drugs into the United States and the New York-area from China and other countries. As one of the lead federal agencies responsible for intercepting many questionable Chinese-made products, I ask that Customs and Border Patrol (CBP), in partnership with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), take immediate action to more aggressively inspect, detect, and prevent these questionable drugs from entering the U.S. in the first place.

For years, it has been understood that a variety of Chinese-made products, particularly drugs, are manufactured in low-quality, unregulated, even dangerous conditions. Heeding these longstanding concerns, your agency has worked hard, alongside the FDA, to inspect and detect questionable shipments from China to prevent them from hitting store shelves. However, the recent warning issued by the FDA to Dollar Tree and other related subsidiaries heightens concerns and sheds new light on an unsolved problem with Chinese-made OTC drugs.

Many New Yorkers have long found it convenient to shop at bargain stores for a less expensive OTC drug. Many consumers, however, remain largely in the dark about the potential dangers posed by these products. They should not have to worry about the safety of what they purchase at the register.

Therefore, to prevent an influx of questionable and potentially unsafe OTC drugs from being stocked on New York bargain store shelves, I ask CBP and the FDA to begin a targeted crackdown on Chinese-made OTC drugs. CBP and FDA should double their efforts to work hand-in-glove to ensure these products are turned away and American companies who might receive them are held accountable.

In addition, to better understand the challenges posed by OTC drugs from China, I ask that you respond to the following questions:

1. How does CBP work with the FDA to inspect, detect, and prevent foreign and Chinese-made OTC drugs from entering the U.S.?

2. Has the CBP conducted specialized training or used advanced screening technology to improve the identification of questionable OTC drugs to the U.S.?

3. What more, if anything, might CBP or the FDA require from the legislative branch to address the problem of unsafe OTC drugs arriving to the U.S so we can curtail these shipments, especially from China?

4. Can your agencies provide any updated statistic to help Congress understand the scope of the problem and has CBD, the FDA, or any other federal agency raised these issues with the Chinese government?

Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.

Sincerely, 

Charles E. Schumer

United States Senator

cc: Ned Sharpless, M.D.

Acting Commissioner, FDA



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