Bogus horse anemia treatment resurfaces

Yet another counterfeit version of an Ontario pharma firm’s equine anemia treatment has reportedly been found in circulation for sale online.

Belleville, Ont.-based Bioniche Life Sciences said unknown parties have produced counterfeits of the company’s intravenous (IV) iron-sucrose product, Hippiron 1000. The genuine product is used to treat iron deficiency in horses.

The fake Hippiron "was discovered being sold via an Internet website," Bioniche said in a release Thursday.

Bioniche said it’s alerted federal regulators and vets to the problem, and provided them with lists of the "elements of the counterfeited product" distinguishing it from the real thing.

Bioniche didn’t list any specific differences between the bona fide and bogus products in Thursday’s release. Hippiron 1000 is sold in Canada both in individual 50-millilitre vials and in packs of 25 vials.

The company didn’t say in its release whether the fake product cited in Thursday’s warning represents a new run of counterfeit wares — or if it’s part of the same counterfeit batch on which Health Canada issued a public warning in 2006.

The warnings from Health Canada and Bioniche that year followed the death of a horse in Ontario and serious reactions in two other horses. All three of those cases followed "the administration of a counterfeit product sourced from a feed store," Bioniche said in 2006.

Hippiron 1000, Bioniche said, is currently the only licensed product of its kind available for veterinary use in Canada and is available only through vets and vet clinics.

"Any Hippiron 1000 that has not been purchased from a veterinarian or veterinary clinic should not be used," Health Canada said in 2006.

Bioniche said at the time, and repeated Thursday, that it "plans to prosecute any individual involved in the manufacturing, marketing, and/or labelling of counterfeited product."

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