E-Liquid Imitating Prescription Bottles: FDA Issues Warning Letters to Retailers

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    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recently taken significant action against retailers selling unauthorized e-liquid products that imitate prescription drug bottles. On June 13, 2024, the FDA announced the issuance of warning letters to six online retailers for marketing Bad Drip brand e-liquids in such misleading packaging.

    E-Liquid Imitating Prescription Bottles

    The FDA’s decision to issue warning letters is a response to retailers selling e-liquid products that closely resemble prescription drug bottles. This practice has raised serious concerns about public safety and the potential for confusion among consumers.

    Details of the FDA’s Actions

    The warning letters were directed at six online retailers selling unauthorized Bad Drip brand e-liquid products and unauthorized flavored disposable e-cigarettes, including Funky Republic and HQD brands. These products were being sold without the necessary FDA authorization, violating the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.

    Statement from FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products

    Brian King, Director of the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products, condemned the packaging strategy, labeling it as both unnecessary and dangerous. “It’s unbelievable that someone thought it was a good idea to package a tobacco product to look like a prescription drug bottle. Such unnecessary and blatantly dangerous packaging has no place, and the FDA is committed to taking action against these illegally sold products,” he stated.

    Legal and Regulatory Violations

    The retailers in question were found to be selling or distributing new tobacco products in the United States without FDA authorization. This constitutes a violation of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, which mandates that all new tobacco products must receive premarket authorization from the FDA before being marketed or sold.

    Actions and Deadlines

    Retailers have been given 15 working days to respond to the warning letters and correct the violations. Failure to comply could lead to severe consequences, including injunctions, seizures, and civil penalties.

    Enforcement Measures by the FDA

    The FDA has a robust enforcement strategy to combat the sale of unauthorized e-cigarette products. This includes issuing warning letters and imposing fines on non-compliant retailers. To date, the FDA has issued over 550 warning letters and more than 100 civil penalty complaints to retailers selling unauthorized e-cigarette products.

    Coordination with the Department of Justice

    In collaboration with the Department of Justice (DOJ), the FDA has taken decisive actions against unauthorized e-cigarette manufacturers. In April of this year, permanent injunctions were imposed on seven manufacturers, and unauthorized e-cigarette products worth over $700,000 were seized.


    What prompted the FDA to issue warning letters to retailers?

    The FDA issued warning letters due to the sale of unauthorized e-liquid products that mimic prescription drug bottles, posing a significant risk to public safety.

    Why is packaging e-liquids like prescription bottles dangerous?

    Such packaging can confuse consumers, leading to accidental ingestion and misuse, particularly among children and vulnerable populations.

    What are the consequences for retailers who do not comply with the FDA’s warning letters?

    Retailers who fail to respond and correct violations within 15 working days may face injunctions, seizures, and civil penalties.

    How many warning letters has the FDA issued regarding unauthorized e-cigarette products?

    The FDA has issued over 550 warning letters to date.

    What actions has the FDA taken in coordination with the DOJ?

    The FDA, in coordination with the DOJ, has imposed permanent injunctions on unauthorized e-cigarette manufacturers and seized products worth over $700,000.

    What should consumers do if they encounter e-liquid products mimicking prescription bottles?

    Consumers should report such products to the FDA and avoid purchasing or using them to prevent potential health risks.