Prior to leaving office on Dec. 9, Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer reached an agreement that will remove potentially dangerous over-the-counter skin lightening products containing the ingredient hydroquinone removed from CVS Pharmacy stores and websites, and from Walmart’s and Amazon’s websites.
Under the 2020 Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, products containing hydroquinone do not meet the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s requirements to be legally sold over-the-counter drugs without approval, and are not generally recognized as safe and effective. In November, Feuer’s office issued cease and desist letters to the three companies, all of which promptly complied.
Under the CARES Act, manufacturers and distributors of over-the-counter skin lightening products with hydroquinone that do not have FDA approval must remove the products from the marketplace. These products are considered to be unapproved new drugs introduced or delivered for introduction into interstate commerce in violation of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, and the California Pharmacy Law.