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Fake hepatitis C medication discovered at Nara pharmacy chain

NARA -- The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare announced on Jan. 17 that counterfeit versions of the hepatitis C medication "Harvoni compound tablets" were discovered at a pharmacy chain here.

    The tablets are produced by U.S. pharmaceutical corporation Gilead Sciences, Inc. According to Gilead's Japanese branch and the health ministry, it is known that the counterfeit drugs were obtained through unofficial sources.

    The composition of the counterfeit tablets is under investigation, but the company is urging patients to check the shape and markings on the tablets for their safety, and to report any abnormalities to their healthcare providers or pharmacies.

    The non-counterfeit tablets are diamond-shaped, orange, and are marked "GSI" or "7985." A variety of counterfeit tablet types have been confirmed, such as ones with a light yellow or purple color and an oval shape.

    Gilead Sciences has set up a 24-hour hotline for inquiries concerning the counterfeit tablets at 0120-631-042 (Japanese language only).

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