Injunctions and Seizures
Injunctions and seizures are widely used in FDA enforcement. These are court orders that require that an entity or person desist from some action, such as selling tainted food or manufacturing a drug or device that does not conform to FDA regulations. Because an FDA injunction can close a business by preventing the sale of its products, it is a very powerful enforcement tool. There are variations on injunctions, called embargoes or seizure orders, that allow specific products to be kept off the market. The product is locked down in the company warehouse, or it may be physically seized and impounded by the government. When a product is seized because it presents a threat to the public health or safety, the government does not have to pay compensation because dangerous property that is not fit for its intended use is treated as having no value. If the product has a short lifetime, such as fresh produce or a drug with a short expiration date, the business must comply with whatever restrictions the agency requests because the delay in fighting the order will render the product worthless.