Friday, August 18, 2017

WHO warns of fake drugs

Beware of fake hepatitis medication. The World Health Organization has warned hepatitis C patients that counterfeit medications are being sold in Myanmar.

Drugs branded as “Ledso” and “Dakavir” are fakes, according to an alert put out by the WHO.

The WHO said it was notified of the drugs by a local NGO. The medications were listed as being manufactured by pharmaceutical company PHARCO based in Alexandria, Egypt. The company denied manufacturing drugs under either name.

“If you are in possession of these products, please do not use them, contact a healthcare professional as soon as possible for advice and report the incident as indicated above,” the WHO alert said.

The drugs claim to be versions of Daclatasvir and a combination of Ledipasvir and Sofosbuvir, all relatively new medications used to treat chronic hepatitis C.

Dr Jorge Luna, country director for the WHO, said it remains unclear what the fake pills actually contain.

“Laboratory analysis is pending so as to better assess the threat posed to public health,” he said.

He added that the WHO is not aware who is manufacturing or supplying the drugs, but that the Ministry of Health has been informed.

The alert comes just after results of a nationwide survey released in January revealed that nearly 10 percent of the country suffers from either hepatitis B or C, with over 1.3 million people living with hepatitis C. Both viruses affect the liver, can cause cancer and are usually transmitted through bodily fluids.

The Food and Drug Administration yesterday confirmed it was aware of the counterfeit medications, and will send out a public alert soon.