WHO warns against counterfeit anti-rabies vaccines, serum

Janella Paris
WHO warns against counterfeit anti-rabies vaccines, serum
The World Health Organization says investigations and laboratory analyses are ongoing to better assess the products’ risk to public health

MANILA, Philippines – The World Health Organization (WHO) warned against the use of 3 counterfeit rabies vaccines and one counterfeit anti-rabies serum circulating in the Philippines. 

WHO, in a medical product alert released on Tuesday, July 16, identified the human vaccines and serum in question as falsified batches of Verorab, Speeda, Rabipur, and Equirab. 

This comes amid a global rabies vaccine shortage. 

After comparison with genuine batches from the products’ manufacturers, the fake batches were all found to have labelling and packaging inconsistencies, according to the WHO bulletin. 

Genuine Verorab, Speeda, and Rapibur vaccines are used as pre-exposure and post-exposure vaccination. Genuine Equirab serum provides passive immunization or temporary protection against rabies.  

Rabies is a viral disease that can be prevented through vaccination. It is almost always fatal following the onset of clinical symptoms. 

WHO said that investigations and laboratory analyses are ongoing to better assess the products’ risk to public health. So far, no adverse reactions attributed to the falsified products have been reported to WHO. 

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had earlier issued separate advisories warning the public against the said products. 

The FDA had, in fact, already warned against fake batches of Verorab as early as December 2018. Meanwhile, FDA advisories against Speeda vaccine and Equirab serum were released in May, and against Rabipur vaccine on July 2. 

The FDA called on local government units and law enforcement agencies to ensure that the counterfeit versions are not sold, made available or used in their localities or areas of jurisdiction.” 

They also reminded “consumers, distributors, and retailers… to purchase drug products only from FDA-licensed establishments.”

They also urged the public to report on continuous sale or distribution of unregistered or counterfeit health products by sending them an e-mail at report@fda.gov.ph or through www.fda.gov.ph/ereport.

Suspected adverse drug reactions should be reported to FDA through www.fda.gov.ph/adr-report-new. – Rappler.com

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