Growth hormone brand launched with Internet verification

Unigen verificationHong Kong-based pharmaceutical company Unigen Life Sciences has re-launched its recombinant human growth hormone product Unitropin with an Internet-based system that can be used by patients to verify their products.

The privately-owned company said Unitropin (hGH; somatropin) will be protected by a website-based authentication and activation system in which patients scratch-off a panel on the product's hologram to reveal a code. This code plus the serial number printed on the product are entered into its online system via the firm's corporate website (

"The customer is able to determine if the numbers match from the factory and whether they have been activated before," said Unigen in a statement.

"Unitropin packaging has several security features reducing the vulnerability of the product to counterfeiting and protecting the patient base," it added.

Human growth hormone has been a perennial favourite of counterfeiters, because it fulfils the criteria of being relatively high priced, low volume and has a ready demand. hGH is used not just in legitimate medical applications such as short stature, osteoporosis and wasting associated with HIV and AIDS, but also illicit use as a supposed anti-aging drug and to boost physical performance in athletes and bodybuilders.

Many counterfeit preparations contain no hGH at all, and in some cases have unlisted ingredients, including anabolic steroid hormones or steroid precursors, which can have a range of side effects including promoting the growth of tumours.

Unigen said the decision to re-launch the Unitropin brand came amidst growing practitioner demand for reasonably-priced somatropin that is produced in a facility certified by the World Health Organization (WHO) and US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

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