More Kryptonite for Kratom

November 13, 2018By Gugan Kaur & Douglas B. Farquhar

Most people think of getting salt water taffy from resort beach town Myrtle Beach, SC. But, apparently, there is more activity going on in Myrtle Beach: a company there was supplying customers with kratom, a substance that the government contends is an illegal dietary supplement. On November 5, 2018, the U.S. Department of Justice, on behalf of FDA, filed a civil forfeiture complaint pursuant to 21 U.S.C. § 334 in the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina to seize a large quantity of kratom products, including finished kratom powder and capsule products labeled as supplements, as well as bulk kratom powder and capsules.

The government’s complaint alleges that there are serious concerns regarding the health impacts of kratom consumption and its potential for abuse. The complaint further alleges that the kratom products are dietary supplements and dietary ingredients within the meaning of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act and are adulterated under 21 U.S.C. § 342(f)(1)(B) because kratom is a new dietary ingredient for which there is inadequate information to provide reasonable assurance that it does not present a significant or unreasonable risk of illness or injury.

This is not the first time the government filed a complaint for forfeiture of kratom products. As noted in a previous post (here), FDA previously issued an import alert targeting kratom (an import alert is easily imposed by FDA without a requirement for judicial authorization).  The recently announced seizure indicates that FDA also intends to go after products already on the domestic market and it is just the most recent of the problems faced by the kratom industry (see our previous posts here and here). This complaint in Myrtle Beach (which also is the home of a Pinball Museum) indicates that kratom products are still very much on the government’s radar.