Finland Pulls Suspected Counterfeit Cancer Drug From Hospitals

As reported by YLE, Fimea, Finland’s pharmaceutical watchdog group, recently ordered hospitals around the country to immediately stop using a shipment of Velcade, a cancer drug, because they suspected the shipment to be counterfeit. This shipment arrived in the country in December and a total of nine packages had been used before the recall was ordered.

Fimea is conducting an investigation to confirm if this is actually a case of counterfeit medicines, but it wouldn’t be the first time counterfeit Velcade showed up in a European country. According to Securing Industry, suspected counterfeit Velcade has already been found in Germany, the Netherlands, and Denmark. Fimea stated that the drugs are “suspected of being inaccurate at least as regards the labelling of the drug.” Possible explanations for the inaccurate labels include substitution of a less expensive generic version of the drug, relabeling of expired Velcade or the introduction of drugs diverted from the legitimate supply chain.

This incident marks potentially the second time that counterfeit drugs have found their way into Finland’s hospitals. Four years ago, Fimea said a counterfeit breast cancer drug Herceptin was discovered in the country. Counterfeit Herceptin was also discovered in the United Kingdom and Germany.