THE World Health Organisation, WHO, has issued a global warning about a fake cancer drug circulating Europe and the Americas.
As reported in the British press, patients, doctors and pharmacies have been alerted of the fake medicine as its packaging looks extremely similar to Iclusig, an oral drug containing ponatinib.
It was developed to treat chronic myeloid leukaemia and Philadelphia chromosome–positive acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.
The fake pharmaceutical is suspected to be a product of ‘high value’, with no active ingredient, exclusively made from paracetamol, but ‘highly dangerous’.
Michael Deats, leader of the vigilance group on fake medicines at WHO in Geneva, told The Guardian that it is not uncommon to come across false or ineffective ‘cancer drugs’.
He continued to explain that all types of fraudulent products have been reported, including those used for breast, prostate and leukaemia cancer.
The fake drugs are allegedly being marketed in England, in packs of 15mg and 45 mg, reportedly sold at £5,000 (€5,650) each, and made to look like they belong to those distributed in Britain’s public health system.
The illegal medicine was brought to WHO’s attention by the Swiss health authorities after a wholesaler in Switzerland allegedly reported the drug due to suspicions.
The pills were reportedly confirmed as fake after laboratory tests were carried out by WHO.