Counterfeit Zyprexa Found
- May 29, 2007
Three large batches of the schizophrenia drug Zyprexa were recently found in the supply chain for Britain, according to authorities there. The British Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Agency (MHRA) found out about the fakes from the drug's maker, pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly. The drug manufacturer found out about the counterfeits from a company whose job it is to print labels for medications; the printing company heard about it from a drug repackaging company.
The MHRA, which has duties similar to those of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), warned the public immediately, telling patients who have purchased Zyprexa to contact their pharmacists as soon as possible. The counterfeit batches have the numbers A229505, A200127, and A216454, all of 10-milligram dosage. The MHRA also issued a recall on these consignments. One person has been arrested in the MHRA's investigation, but has not been charged.
Significantly Less Active Ingredient
Preliminary laboratory tests on the fake Zyprexa revealed that the tablets contain only about 60 percent of the active ingredient that is 100 percent available in the true formulation. An investigation continues into whether the counterfeit Zyprexa tablets contain any additional ingredients that could be harmful.
An MHRA spokesperson noted that "To date, it is believed that two of the batches have reached patient level. We take this very seriously, and a criminal investigation is being carried out."
Counterfeit Medicines Are Big Business
Counterfeit drugs are becoming increasingly common around the world, as they provide a lucrative business for criminals. Batches of fake Lipitor, the top-selling cholesterol medication from Pfizer, were found on several occasions in Great Britain. The European Parliament recently held a high-profile symposium on counterfeit drugs in an effort to stem the tide of fake medications being sold and distributed throughout Europe. Poorly regulated developing world markets for drugs are especially vulnerable.
(Source: News.Scotsman.com; http://news.scotsman.com/latest.cfm?id=809772007)
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