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Finland pulls batch of cancer drug Velcade from hospitals due to counterfeit suspicions

Finland's pharmaceutical watchdog Fimea has ordered hospital staff across the country to stop using a suspect batch of the cancer medication Velcade due to suspicions that they may be fakes.

File photo. Image: Yle

Finnish pharmaceutical regulator Fimea has ordered hospital staff to stop the use of a suspect shipment of the cancer drug Velcade because it found that several batches of the drug were bogus.

In a press release issued on Wednesday, Fimea said that European health officials investigated incidents of a suspected fake version of the drug last autumn.

A shipment of Velcade which arrived to Finland in December is suspected of being fake, according to Fimea.

The agency said it suspects that a total of nine packages from that shipment had been used, but said it had not received any notifications about adverse side effects after their use.

Investigation in progress

Fimea said that it is investigating whether it actually is a case of counterfeit medicine and has ordered that the Velcade in that shipment cannot be used or sold in Finland until further notice.

The incidents mark the second time in Finnish history that bogus medicine has reached the country's pharmaceutical market. The last time it happened was four years ago and was also a medication only used in a hospital setting.

The importer of the drug is the Espoo-based firm Orifarm.

_EDIT: This story has been edited to clarify that Fimea ordered suspect batches of the drug could not be used. There is no general prohibition on the use of Velcade. _

EDIT 22.1.2018 17:45 This story has been updated to clarify that only one suspect batch of Velcade was shipped.