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Archive -Counterfeit lipitor found again in the United Kingdom

Starting date:
August 2, 2006
Posting date:
August 2, 2006
Type of communication:
Source of recall:
Health Canada
Identification number:

Health Canada is informing consumers about a batch of counterfeit Lipitor (the brand name for atorvastatin) found on the market in the United Kingdom. This drug is used to treat high cholesterol. The counterfeit Lipitor has a lot number of 004405K1, with an expiration date of "11 2007."

The counterfeit Lipitor was originally removed from the market in the U.K. on July 28, 2005, but the product was recently found there again in a pharmacy.

While Health Canada has no indication that any of the counterfeit Lipitor tablets have reached the Canadian market, the product may have been brought into Canada by travellers or been purchased over the Internet.

Health authorities in the U.K. said initial test results indicate that the counterfeit Lipitor does not pose an immediate risk to patients.

As a precaution, Health Canada is issuing this Information Update to alert the public to this matter, as well as to the potential health risks related to counterfeit drugs in general.

Counterfeit drugs may contain the incorrect dose, the wrong ingredients, dangerous additives, or no active ingredients at all, which could result in potentially serious health risks to patients. Even if these drugs do not harm you directly or immediately, your condition may get worse without effective treatment.

In order to minimize the risk of purchasing counterfeit drugs, consumers who choose to purchase their medication via the Internet should not do business with any Web site or company that:

  • refuses to give a street address, telephone number or way of contacting a pharmacist;
  • offers prescription drugs without a prescription;
  • offers to issue a prescription based on answers to an online questionnaire;
  • claims to have a "miracle cure" for any serious condition; or
  • sells products that are not approved for sale in Canada.

All drugs approved for sale in Canada will bear an eight-digit Drug Identification Number (DIN). This authorization indicates that the product has been assessed by Health Canada for safety, efficacy and quality.

Consumers who purchased Lipitor tablets through licensed Canadian pharmacies should not have received any of these counterfeit tablets.

Consumers should consult with their pharmacist or physician if they have experienced any adverse effects from taking Lipitor tablets (or atorvastatin, the active ingredient in Lipitor). Health Canada also encourages health care professionals and consumers to report any suspected adverse reactions associated with the use of a product.

Health Canada advises Canadians to contact the Health Products and Food Branch Inspectorate at 1-800-267-9675 if they believe they have a counterfeit version of this product.

Consumers requiring more information about this Information Update can contact Health Canada's public enquiries line at (613) 957-2991, or toll free at 1-866-225-0709.

To report a suspected adverse reaction with this or any other health product, please contact the Canadian Adverse Drug Reaction Monitoring Program (CADRMP) of Health Canada by one of the following methods:

Telephone: 1-866-234-2345
Facsimile: 1-866-678-6789

Marketed Health Products Directorate
Health Protection Building, Tunney's Pasture, AL 0701C
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0K9


Media enquiries

Christopher Williams
Health Canada
(613) 946-4250

Public enquiries

(613) 957-2991
1-866 225-0709