Drugmaker BSV warns of fake rabies serum in Philippines

BSV BioScience has said it has encountered further falsified copies of its Equirab product – used to provide passive immunisation against rabies – in the Philippines medicines supply chain.

The anti-rabies serum was the subject of Philippines FDA alert (PDF, in Tagalog) issued in August last year, in which the regulator warned consumers not to buy the product, and businesses not to stock or sell it.

BSV BioScience said it had obtained fake samples of Equirab in its 200 IU/ml (1000 IU/5 mL) formulation, and is concerned that patients could be at risk of contracting rabies and potentially may suffer once injected with a counterfeit product when they happen to have been exposed to a rabid animal, according to a GMA News report.

The company has said it "is currently exhausting legal options with the government's help to curb the manufacture and distribution of counterfeit Equirab," adding: "Ongoing operations have already pinpointed alleged counterfeiters and have led to ongoing legal cases against them."

Rabies – which is 100% fatal though 100% preventable – is a big issue in the Philippines, responsible for the deaths of 200-300 Filipinos every year. That makes rabies drugs essential medicines, and a target for counterfeiters.

In 2019, the FDA issued an alert about counterfeit versions of GlaxoSmithKline’s Rabipur PCEC rabies vaccine, and in the same year also found fakes of another rabies vaccine – Sanofi Pasteur’s Verorab – in circulation.

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