Counterfeit packs of the preparation Harvoni® have been discovered in Israel. The plastic bottles, which originate in India, were imported via a Swiss trading company and contain white instead of genuine orange coloured, diamond shaped* tablets. The Swiss Agency for Therapeutic Products Swissmedic is working with other European authorities to establish whether Harvoni® packs with counterfeit contents have also been imported into other countries.
Harvoni is used to treat chronic hepatitis C in adults. Treatments that use the latest generation of hepatitis C medicines are limited in Switzerland and very expensive compared with other countries. Consequently, according to media reports, Swiss patients are purchasing Harvoni and other preparations abroad.
Swissmedic advises against purchasing any medicine from unknown sources, and particularly against ordering via the Internet. There is no guarantee that medicines sold at very low prices from countries with no comparable medicines control system actually contain the declared active ingredient or the correct dosage of that active ingredient.
Treatment with Harvoni should be always be supervised by a doctor with experience in the treatment of chronic hepatitis C because the effect of the medicine has to be reviewed at regular intervals.
*Correction of 08 April 2016