WHO issues alert vs fake rabies vaccines
Citing a report of the Philippines’ Food and Drug Administration (FDA) last December, WHO said that “falsified Verorab® vaccines” have been identified in the Philippines.
WHO issues alert vs fake rabies vaccines
Sheila Crisostomo (The Philippine Star) - February 2, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The World Health Organization (WHO) has issued a “medical product alert” on fake rabies vaccines circulating in the Philippines and asked the public to increase vigilance against these products.

Citing a report of the Philippines’ Food and Drug Administration (FDA) last December, WHO said that “falsified Verorab® vaccines” have been identified in the Philippines.

The “genuine version” is manufactured by Sanofi Pasteur, WHO said.

“This vaccine is used for the prevention of rabies in children and adults…Sanofi Pasteur has confirmed they did not manufacture these falsified vaccines,” it noted in a bulletin.

For its part, the Department of Health gave assurance that it has conducted a review and found that “no DOH hospital or regional office has procured this counterfeit vaccine.”

“This is the reported counterfeit anti-rabies vaccines procured by The Medical City. The FDA is investigating the case and assures that the distributor is no longer selling this… Any other counterfeit vaccines sold by the distributor have been recalled,” DOH Undersecretary Eric Domingo said.

According to WHO, the vaccine “can be used to protect those who are at risk of exposure to rabies (pre-exposure vaccination) or to prevent the development of rabies after exposure has occurred, usually following the bite of an animal suspected of having rabies (post-exposure prophylaxis).”

Rabies is a vaccine-preventable viral disease that is almost always fatal following the onset of clinical symptoms. It is present in all continents, with over 95 percent of human deaths occurring in the Asia and Africa regions.

WHO added that since the FDA issued a “public health warning” against Verorab,  a “further batch” of falsified vaccines had been reported.   

The FDA, in its advisory, has warned the public that the counterfeit vaccines “pose potential danger or injury to consumers” as they did not go through its regulatory and screening procedures.

“Investigations are ongoing and laboratory analysis is underway to better assess the potential risk to public health… There have been no known adverse reactions reported to WHO at this stage,” WHO said.

The agency has sought “increased vigilance within the supply chains of countries likely to be affected by these falsified vaccines. Increased vigilance should include hospitals, clinics, health centres, wholesalers, distributors, pharmacies and any other suppliers of vaccines.”

“If you are in possession of the above vaccines, please do not use. If you have used these falsified vaccines, or if you suffer an adverse event having used these vaccines, please seek immediate advice from a qualified healthcare professional,” WHO added.

WHO has asked the public to make sure that they report incidents to health authorities. It also underscored the need to obtain all medical products only from “authentic and reliable sources.”

“Their authenticity and condition should be carefully checked. Seek advice from a healthcare professional in case of doubt,” the agency maintained.

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