Fake Sudagrip Medication Enters the Belizean Market, Investigation Underway
If you use over the counter drugs for a cold or flu, then you may be familiar with the medicine, Sudagrip. It is relatively inexpensive, and can be found in most stores across the country. What you may not know is that there is such a thing called counterfeit meds or fake meds. Love News recently learned that there are packets of counterfeit Sudagrip that have reached the Belize market. Chief Drug Inspector, Dr. Crystal Samouge explained that the Drug Inspectorate within the Ministry has launched an investigation into how the fake medications got into the country.
Dr. Crystal Samouge, Chief Drug Inspector: “The product is Sudagrip. It’s a medication commonly used to manage the signs and symptoms of a common gold or a flu. As a part of our what we call our market surveillance activities this is where we would go out into the community and to the different establishments and look for products that came into the country and weren’t authorized, look for perhaps maybe if antibiotics are being sold in stores, things like that. As drug inspectors we are trained to look out for certain things that would alert us or raise a red flag to say that this may be a falsified product or a counterfeit product. We encountered the Sudagrip in a supermarket yesterday in the Stann Creek district. When we saw the medication it did raise some flags for us because we noticed some inconsistencies with the packaging. We did a sample collection right there and then we removed the product and we did some investigation on our end and it turns out that within the region the product had been circulating since February.”
Dr. Samouge said that Ministry personnel have begun a countrywide search to recall the medication. She noted that in the meantime, Belizeans can protect themselves from fake medications by looking at a number of factors when making a purchase.
Dr. Crystal Samouge, Chief Drug Inspector: “A priority for us is to ensure that we identify where the counterfeit medications are and we want to remove them immediately .So that’s something that the drug inspectorate unit is working on. We’re actively working on looking for which stores have these available and removing them. We’ve also started an investigation because we’re trying to identify the source of the medication. Based on the information we have so far we know that it did not enter the country with a permit from the Ministry of Health and Wellness so it appears to be that it was perhaps smuggled maybe across the border so that’s somethings that we’re looking at but we just identified the product yesterday so the investigation is in its early stage but that is where we go from there try to identify the source and ensure that we get it removed from the market. With Sudagrip an with other products there are certain things that you want to look out for. So you should always look at the package. Examine the package and see if anything feels off to you right ? So it may mean that perhaps there’s a change in color in the package. If the packaging looks poor that’s usually an indication that it may be a counterfeit product. Something that I always encourage persons to look for is to read the packaging and look out for spelling mistakes or any kind of grammatical errors, that’s usually a tell tale sign that something is fake. Of course if you notice that the medication is of a different color that you’re used to, if you see cracks in a tablet for example these are usually signs that a medication is either substandard or falsified.”
Samouge added that, fortunately, there have not been any reports of consumers getting sick from the medication. Anyone who feels they might have had an adverse reaction due to a fake Sudagrip is urged to contact the Ministry at 822-2325.