East Africa: Comesa Warns of Fake Breast Cancer Drug Reported in Kenya

Pink ribbons are symbolic of breast cancer awareness.

Nairobi — The COMESA Competition Commission has warned its member states against the sale of a false batch of cancer medicine identified as Herceptin 440 mg (Trastuzumab 440mg) reported to have penetrated the Kenyan market.

This comes barely a few days after the Pharmacy and Poisons Board (PPB) cautioned Kenyans about the medicine believed to be an antibody used to treat breast and stomach cancer, stating that it is confirmed counterfeit and has adverse health effects.

"The Commission has become aware through the public notice dated May 11 2024 from the Pharmacies and Poisons Board (PPB) of Kenya about a suspicious batch of falsified Herceptin 440 mg (Trastuzumab 440mg) product that has been detected in the market," the commission said.

The Commission expressed worries about the possibility of the product being supplied in other COMESA Member States and advised citizens in those nations to exercise due caution and refrain from buying the medication.

"In this regard, pursuant to Article 30(1)(b) of the COMESA Competition Regulations, the Commission requests any person who establishes that the recalled product is being sold in other COMESA Member States, to avoid its purchase or use, and to report the matter to the Commission," it noted in a statement.

According to PPB, which first detected the medicine circulating in the local market, the falsified product poses immense health risks to users as it is not authorized in the market.

Fred Siyoi, the chief executive officer of the PPB, revealed that the product batch claimed to be manufactured in Germany by Roshe Products Limited, bearing the batch number C5830083, Manufacturing date: 12/2021, Expiry Date: 11/2024 is a falsified product in view of the falsified contents, packaging and labelling aspects which have been confirmed by the brand owner.

"It is not authorized to be in the market and is a falsified product in view of the falsified contents, packaging and labeling aspects which have been confirmed by the brand owner," stated Siyoi CEO PPB.

He said that Kenya has established robust market surveillance and control systems that continuously monitor the quality and safety of medical products in the local market.

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