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Counterfeit drugs may contain inert ingredients or dangerous additives, Health Canada says. ((Alden Pellett/Associated Press))

Health Canada has identified three websites that are selling prescription drugs not authorized for sale in Canada, the agency said Wednesday.

The websites — www.northdrugmart.com, www.northdrugstore.com and www.pharmacyrxworld.com — sell products containing references to brand names and resemble drugs that are approved for sale in Canada.

Health Canada said it suspects the products are counterfeit.

"This may lead consumers to believe they are purchasing drugs that have been reviewed for safety, efficacy and quality by Health Canada," the department said in a news release.

"It is important to note that counterfeit drugs may contain no active or unsuitable ingredients, or dangerous additives. To this end, counterfeit drugs may pose a higher risk than other forms of unauthorized drugs."

The regulator said the websites are not associated with a licensed pharmacy in Ontario, according to the province's college of pharmacists.

Health Canada found four unauthorized drugs for sale on the websites:

  • Sorafenib, a kidney and liver cancer drug.
  • Zonisamide, an anticonvulsant for seizures.
  • Lenalidomide, a treatment for multiple myeloma.
  • Kuvan, a medication for phenylketonuria.

The department is checking if the websites continue to sell the products to Canadians.

Agency staff review prescription products approved for sale in other countries and generic products purporting to be equivalent to authorized products before granting licences for sale here.