More fake Harvoni found in Japan

Nine more bottles of counterfeit hepatitis C medicine Harvoni have been discovered at two pharma wholesalers in Tokyo, according to the Japanese authorities.

Last week, the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare (MHLW) revealed that five counterfeit bottles of Gilead Sciences' big-selling product had been discovered at a pharmacy chain in Nara Prefecture, now identified as Kansai Medico.

Yesterday, the regulatory authority issued a second statement (in Japanese only) noting that at least nine pharmacies and wholesale dealers/distributors in Osaka Prefecture and Tokyo have been involved in circulating the counterfeit Harvoni (sofosbuvir/ledipasvir) bottles.

The lot numbers used on the counterfeits match numbers used by Gilead, suggesting that fake pills may have been introduced into genuine Harvoni bottles, according to the MHLW, which is increasingly concerned that the illicit product may have been distributed nationwide.

A report in The Mainichi newspaper suggests that three of the businesses involved in supplying the counterfeits acquired the drugs from "several individuals who are not licensed to sell pharmaceuticals."

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