Fake pharma news from around the world

News clippingsA round-up of fake pharma news from around the world, including updates from Tanzania, Kenya and the Democratic Republic of Congo, Canada and Malaysia.

The government of Tanzania has closed a manufacturing facility and suspended three senior officials at the Medical Stores Department (MSD) - part of the Ministry of Health - as part of an investigation into counterfeit HIV drugs. The country's Daily News reports that the facility owned by Tanzania Pharmaceutical Industry (TPI) had been closed, and a ban put in place on all medicines made by the company. The three suspended MSD officials include director general Joseph Mgaya, quality assurance manager Sadick Materu and quality assurance officer David Masero. The case centres on the discovery of a counterfeit nevirapine product made by TPI and sold to MSD by the Tanzania Food and Drug Authority (TFDA).

German researchers have found no evidence of significant criminal counterfeiting of antibiotic drugs delivered as eyedrops in Kenya and the Democratic Republic of Congo, although there were significant deviations from stated concentrations for a majority (57 per cent) of all samples tested. The scientists report in the journal Ophthalmologe that 75 per cent of branded drugs had active ingredient in the desired range, compared to just 12 per cent of generic drugs, which they note "is cause for concern and justifies further investigation".

Canada has warned that counterfeit versions of a veterinary drug used to treat anaemia in horses are circulating in the marketplace. The fakes are copies of Bioniche's Hippiron 1000 (iron sucrose) product and were being sold on the Internet, according to the country's national drugs authority Health Canada. The drug is delivered by intravenous injection and is sold only to veterinarians, according to Bionice, which said it would "prosecute any individual involved in the manufacturing, marketing, and/or labeling of counterfeited product".

The Ministry of Health in Malaysia says that criminals are switching their attention from narcotics to counterfeit medicines because the latter trade is more profitable and carries lighter penalties, according to a Sun Daily report. An MoH official told the newspaper that the country is considering introducing a law to implement a mandatory one-year jail term for any individual convicted of producing fake drugs.

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