Fake Rabies Vaccine Sold in the Philippines

Verorab rabies vaccine batch number H1833 was confirmed counterfeit by the Philippines FDA

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The Republic of the Philippines Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has ordered the closure of Geramil Trading, the company allegedly responsible for selling counterfeit anti-rabies vaccines. 

According to reporting by ABS-CBN News on February 2, 2019, this FDA order was confirmed by the Philippines Health Undersecretary Eric Domingo.   

"The FDA served a preventive closure order while the case against Geramil Trading is being heard," Dr. Domingo said.   

Geramil Trading is a wholesale distributor licensed by the Philippines FDA. 

This order is related to the previous disclosure by Medical City in Pasig City on January 30, 2019, when it admitted that it had injected fake anti-rabies vaccine to some of its patients during 2018. 

According to The Medical City, they quickly contacted the Philippines Department of Health and the FDA to test the batch of counterfeit vaccines. 

They also quarantined these vaccines. 

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This news is important since rabies is one of the most fatal infections and it is responsible for the death of 200-300 Filipinos annually. 

Previously, during December 2018, the FDA first issued an advisory against the spread of the fake rabies vaccine. 

"There are ongoing investigations in identifying the sources of counterfeit vaccines. It is important not to spread the distribution," said FDA Legal Services Officer in Charge Attorney Michelle Lapuz. 

During 2016, the Philippines FDA advised the public against the use of the unregistered, counterpart brand Verorab. These Verorab anti-rabies vaccines were found to be distributed in the Philippine market without the approval of the FDA.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says rabies postexposure therapy outside the United States may include materials not used in the U.S., such as purified vero cell rabies vaccine (Verorab ™, Imovax – Rabies vero ™, TRC Verorab ™), purified duck embryo vaccine (Lyssavac N ™), or different formulations of PCEC (Rabipur ®) or HDCV (Rabivac ™). 

If these materials have been used, it might be necessary to provide additional therapy when the patient returns to the United States, says the CDC.