The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has asked hospitals and pharmacies to recall batches of rosuvastatin — a drug to control cholesterol marketed as Crestor — which the agency said had been mixed with counterfeit drugs.
FDA official Chih Lan-hui (遲蘭慧) said that global biopharmaceutical company AstraZeneca received a report from a pharmacist in New Taipei City last month that its Crestor 10mg film-coated tablets might contain counterfeit drugs in similar packaging.
The company confirmed the product was fake after sending a sample abroad to be examined.
The FDA received the report from AstraZeneca on Thursday and the New Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office launched an investigation, Chih said.
Preliminary investigations showed that counterfeit drugs were mixed with batch number MV503 of Crestor, which was distributed in October last year.
National Health Insurance Administration (NHIA) data showed that more than 570,000 people are taking Crestor with about NT$2.3 billion (US$74.1 million) spent on the drug each year.
Chih said the counterfeit drug contained atorvastatin — another lipid-lowering medication — as its main ingredient, rather than rosuvastatin.
Taipei Department of Health official Wang Ming-li (王明理), director of the Food and Drug Division, yesterday said the department’s preliminary investigation at pharmacies in the city showed that another of the company’s film-coated cholesterol-lowering products might contain counterfeit drugs as well.
“We found 66 boxes of Crestor 10mg film-coated tablets with three different batch numbers and 44 boxes of 5mg film-coated tablets with one batch number” at a pharmacy that purchased the drugs from the same source as that which provided the confirmed fakes in New Taipei City, Wang said. “We collected them for testing.”
Taiwan Pharmacist Association spokesperson Shen Tsai-ying (沈采穎) said the patent on atorvastatin expired in November 2011, so the ingredients are 30 to 50 percent cheaper than rosuvastatin, so unscrupulous manufacturers of atorvastatin can captialize on the difference in cost.
Shen said many pharmacists reported that most of the MV503 batch has already been sold.
If people have medication from that batch, they should not take it, but should exchange it for the same drug from a different batch, Shen said.
RISK FACTORS: ‘We hope people can cooperate and endure it ... it is possibly the very important last mile,’ Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung said Taiwan’s COVID-19 restrictions and mask regulations are to remain the same next month, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday. The center reported 42,112 new local COVID-19 cases and 85 deaths, saying that the number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients has dropped to a new low this month. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the CECC, said that the center is keeping COVID-19 restrictions and mask regulations the same due to the local virus situation, and an increase in the number of imported cases of the new Omicron subvariants BA.4 and BA.5 of SARS-CoV-2, among other risk factors. Easing
TRAVEL CONFERENCE: Representatives from the two countries exchanged views on how to increase tourist numbers, with one identifying individual travel as a trend Taiwan and South Korea aim to increase the number of tourists traveling between the two countries to 3 million, government and tourism industry representatives said at a conference in Hsinchu City yesterday. The annual event was attended by Deputy Minister of Transportation and Communications Chen Yen-po (陳彥伯); Tourism Bureau Director-General Chang Shi-chung (張錫聰); Taiwan Visitors Association chairwoman Yeh Chu-lan (葉菊蘭); South Korean Representative to Taiwan Chung Byung-won; Yoon Ji-sook, an official at the South Korean Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism; and Korea Association of Travel Agents chairman Oh Chang-hee. Global tourism is expected to soon rebound to between 55 and
DAMAGE CONTROL: The KMT in a statement called the Taiwan Strait ‘international waters,’ after Alexander Huang said China had the right to claim it as internal waters Lawmakers and experts yesterday accused the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) envoy to the US Alexander Huang (黃介正) of acting as China’s stooge, after he said that Beijing has the right to claim waters beyond its maritime territory as its exclusive economic zone and that the US has no legal basis to assert that the Taiwan Strait is an “international waterway.” Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Wang Ting-yu (王定宇) said in an online post that most of the world considers the Strait an international waterway, adding that this is important for safeguarding Taiwan. “We have seen US warships transiting through the Taiwan Strait.
The Taichung District Court yesterday sentenced to nine years in prison an unlicensed judo coach who caused the death of a seven-year-old student after slamming him onto the ground more than a dozen times. In its decision against the coach, a man surnamed Ho (何), the court cited his lack of remorse for using excessive force against an inadequately trained child and his failure to reconcile with the parents for his role in their son’s death. Speaking on behalf of the boy’s mother, Taichung City Councilor Jacky Chen (陳清龍) said the family would appeal to a higher court. Prosecutors said that Ho on