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I am ORA Profile: Rachael Ashley Moss

Rachael Ashley Moss, Import specialist 


Rachel Ashley Moss
Rachael Ashley Moss

I am Rachael Ashley Moss, an import specialist at the John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) International Mail Facility (IMF) in Jamaica, NY, and I protect Americans by preventing the entry of potentially harmful drugs and pharmaceutical products into the United States. 

In my role, I carefully screen international parcels that come into the JFK IMF, focused on identifying any unsafe, counterfeit, or unauthorized drug products, and stopping them from reaching U.S. consumers. I gather and document crucial information about such potentially harmful products, arming the agency with data it needs to swiftly remove them from commerce. Because of FDA’s authority, I can recommend destruction of dangerous products or “refuse the product for admission” by returning the product back to the sender.  

A Safe Standard 

Daily, I’m reminded of how important the FDA drug approval process is. It means that data on a drug’s effects have been carefully reviewed by the agency, and the drug is determined to provide benefits that outweigh its known and potential risks for the intended population. Equally important, FDA-approved pharmaceutical companies undergo rigorous inspections by the agency too, ensuring the safety of their products for the American public. My job underscores the vital need for such regulatory oversight and, conversely, the great risks associated with bad actors who ship illegal, nonapproved drug products, made by unapproved manufacturers, into our country, posing significant risks when it comes to products’ composition and safety. 

A Pharmacist on the Frontlines 

I am also a pharmacist. My extensive pharmacy experience both abroad and domestically has significantly influenced and enriched my role at ORA. A passion of mine early on, during pharmacy school, I founded the first international global health rotation program in Arequipa, Peru. At ORA, I continue to apply my expertise by ensuring compliance and high standards within the pharmaceutical landscape.  

My greatest accomplishment at the FDA is probably my support of a special Xylazine Test Strips Rapid Screening workgroup, focused on the drug that is increasingly being combined with fentanyl and making the opioid crisis even deadlier. Xylazine test strips are small strips of paper that can be placed within a personal sample of drugs to detect the presence of xylazine, a non-opioid sedative that is approved by FDA for animal use, but not for people.  

Other rewarding moments include my collaborations with other government agencies, such as Customs and Border Patrol, to conduct complex operations targeting specific drug products that have been illegally shipped or contain harmful ingredients from other countries.   

An Eye on Trends  

Being stationed at the JFK IMF, where we encounter the highest volume of drug-containing parcels in the country, I have a unique chance to gain valuable real-time insights into what drugs Americans are attempting to order from overseas, including drugs with criminal or nefarious intent. When people order illegal prescription drug products from overseas they do not know what they are getting in terms of if  drugs are safe and effective and it’s our job to protect the American public and assure drugs entering the US are safe and effective. 

Dismantling illegally imported drug products and gaining profound insights into emerging trends from specific countries or importers adds a layer of excitement to my daily work. I readily share observations with agency partners, as well as our own FDA Office of Criminal Investigations, who pursue the bad actors plotting harmful schemes. I can assist them by pinpointing particular importers, including medical clinics and other distributors. This strategic, cross-agency approach boosts our mission by enhancing our ability to proactively address potential risks and safeguard the public health. 

Above all, I am pleased and proud that my role as an Import Specialist aligns with our mission, that I can bring my pharmaceutical expertise and passion to bear on some of the toughest challenges we face, in a world where we ship products from all over the world with ease, yet also, critically, depend upon drug safety, quality and consumer peace of mind.  

I am Rachael Ashley Moss, and #IAmORA. 

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