Suspected fake HPV vaccines found in Hong Kong

Customs in Hong Kong have seized dozens of boxes of Merck & Co’s HPV vaccine after the Health Department a complaint about side effects.

All told, 76 boxes of Gardasil with an estimated value of around $22,000 have been seized as part of an investigation into the case, while the director of a medical centre in Kwun Tong and one other member of staff have been detained for questioning, reports the South China Morning Post.

The investigation was launched after one patient complained of an injection site reaction to a vaccine administered at Harmony Medical Care Services located at the Entrepot Centre. The centre reportedly had two fridges used to keep the suspected counterfeit and real vaccines separately.

Suspicion that the seized samples are counterfeit has arisen because of some very subtle differences in the packaging from genuine Gardasil.

HPV vaccines are generally prescribed to young women in order to provide protection against cervical cancer in later life. They have proved to be so successful in that regard that some countries, including the UK, are now looking at extending their use to include young boys as well to increase herd immunity.

China recently passed a new law that increases the supervision of vaccines on the market after a series of scandals involving falsified products.

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