Counterfeit Lipitor Found
Again in the United Kingdom
August 2, 2006
Health Canada is informing consumers
about a batch of counterfeit Lipitor (the brand
name for atorvastatin) found on the market in
the United Kingdom. This drug is used to treat
high cholesterol. The counterfeit Lipitor has
a lot number of 004405K1, with an expiration date
of "11 2007." While Health Canada has
no indication that any of the counterfeit Lipitor
tablets have reached the Canadian market, the
product may have been brought into Canada by travellers
or been purchased over the Internet.
The counterfeit Lipitor was originally
removed from the market in the U.K. on July 28,
2005, but the product was recently found there
again in a pharmacy.
Health authorities in the U.K. said
initial test results indicate that the counterfeit
Lipitor does not pose an immediate risk to patients.
As a precaution, Health Canada is
issuing this Information Update to alert the public
to this matter, as well as to the potential health
risks related to counterfeit drugs in general.
Counterfeit drugs may contain the
incorrect dose, the wrong ingredients, dangerous
additives, or no active ingredients at all, which
could result in potentially serious health risks
to patients. Even if these drugs do not harm you
directly or immediately, your condition may get
worse without effective treatment.
In order to minimize the risk of
purchasing counterfeit drugs, consumers who choose
to purchase their medication via the Internet
should not do business with any Web site or company
- refuses to give a street address,
telephone number or way of contacting a pharmacist;
- offers prescription drugs without
- offers to issue a prescription
based on answers to an online questionnaire;
- claims to have a "miracle
cure" for any serious condition; or
sells products that are not approved for sale
- All drugs approved for sale in
Canada will bear an eight-digit Drug Identification
Number (DIN). This authorization indicates that
the product has been assessed by Health Canada
for safety, efficacy and quality.
Consumers who purchased Lipitor
tablets through licensed Canadian pharmacies should
not have received any of these counterfeit tablets.
Consumers should consult with their
pharmacist or physician if they have experienced
any adverse effects from taking Lipitor tablets
(or atorvastatin, the active ingredient in Lipitor).
Health Canada also encourages health care professionals
and consumers to report any suspected adverse
reactions associated with the use of a product.
Health Canada advises Canadians
to contact the Health Products and Food Branch
Inspectorate at 1-800-267-9675 if they believe
they have a counterfeit version of this product.
Consumers requiring more information
about this Information Update can contact Health
Canada’s public enquiries line at (613)
957-2991, or toll free at 1-866-225-0709.
To report a suspected adverse reaction
with this or any other health product, please
contact the Canadian Adverse Drug Reaction Monitoring
Program (CADRMP) of Health Canada by one of the
Marketed Health Products Directorate
Health Protection Building, Tunney’s Pasture,
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0K9