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Health Canada warns of fake COVID-19 test kits after some found in Ontario

Health Canada is asking Canadians to look out for fake COVID-19 rapid test kits, after some were found in Ontario.

In a statement issued Friday, the health agency said counterfeit Rapid Response test kits had been sold online.

The fake kits seemingly come from one manufacturer — “Health Advance Inc.” — whose name and number is stickered on the box. The online distributor selling them was “Healthful Plus.”

However, an authentic kit box is sealed with a clear sticker with blue lettering that says “QC APPROVED.”

The manufacturer appears to no longer be making the kits, and the distributor’s website is no longer active, Health Canada said.

On the counterfeit kit, Health Advance’s name and phone number along with text ‘Official Canadian Distributor’ and unauthorized text ‘Health Canada Approved’ appear on the box. (Submitted by Health Canada)

The entire shipment, which contained 435 boxes of the 25-pack kits, was bought by a purchaser for personal use, and was later sent to Health Canada.

The health agency says it has no evidence to suggest that additional counterfeit kits have been distributed in Canada.

Though similar to authentic test kits, these fake ones come in a green box but the labelling is inaccurate, inconsistent, and lists a company that Health Canada says does not have the required licence to import, distribute or sell medical devices in the country.

An authentic kit will include test cassettes, tube stand, assay buffer, swabs, procedure card and package insert, as shown here. Not shown here: extraction tubes and nozzle filters. (Submitted by Health Canada)

Health Canada has also not tested the safety and effectiveness of the fake kits, it said in the advisory. If a kit is suspected to be fake, people should not use it, dispose of it, and report it to Health Canada, the agency said.

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