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SAFETY BULLETINS

October 23, 2018

While many health product websites are lawful businesses, some sell products that may present serious health risks. If you buy health products over the Internet, it is important to know the risks and to take steps to protect yourself and your family.

While health products sold online may look legitimate, you may have no way of knowing where they were manufactured, what is in them, or if they have been approved by Health Canada and assessed for safety, effectiveness and quality. You may get fake or unauthorized products with no active ingredients, the wrong ingredients, or dangerous additives (such as prescription drugs not listed on the label). Unlicensed medical devices purchased over the Internet may be low quality, may not work, or may not be safe.

October 18, 2018

Health Canada seized “Surfaz-SN Triple Action Cream”—an unauthorized skin cream promoted for antifungal, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory use—because it is labelled to contain prescription drugs (betamethasone dipropionate and neomycin sulphate). The product was seized from Kaf African Caribbean Market (2642 Liruma Road, Unit 2A) in Mississauga, Ontario.

Surfaz-SN Triple Action Cream has not been evaluated by Health Canada for safety, effectiveness or quality and may pose serious health risks.

October 12, 2018

Health Canada is reminding consumers that decorative contact lenses pose health risks. It’s important to use these lenses safely.

Decorative contact lenses (sometimes called “fashion,” “costume,” “cosmetic” or “coloured” contact lenses) don’t correct vision; they change how eyes look. They are typically sold at costume and novelty shops, at cosmetic retailers and online.

All types of contact lenses, including decorative lenses, pose health risks, including:


  • cuts or scratches to the top layer of the eyeball (corneal abrasions);
  • allergic reactions (e.g., itchy, watery, red eyes);
  • impaired vision;
  • infections; and
  • blindness.
September 28, 2018

Pfizer Canada has advised Health Canada that, in a very small number of cases, some EpiPen (0.3 mg) and EpiPen Jr (0.15 mg) auto-injector devices may not slide out of their carrier tube easily, or at all. This could delay or prevent emergency treatment, possibly leading to patient disability or death.

According to the company, the device label has been improperly applied to a very small number of devices in a way that the device label may become stuck to the inside of the carrier tube. This could mean that the device does not slide out of the tube as easily as expected. The issue is with the device label, and not with the device itself or the drug that it delivers (epinephrine).

EpiPen and EpiPen Jr are used to deliver an emergency treatment of adrenaline (epinephrine) to patients who are at risk or have a history of life-threatening allergic reactions (anaphylaxis).

Products are not being recalled by Pfizer, as the risk can be mitigated easily by pharmacists and patients by checking devices before an emergency situation arises to make sure they slide easily out of their carrier tube.

September 25, 2018

Hydroquinone is used to lighten dark spots on the skin such as age spots, liver spots or freckles. However, Health Canada recommends that products for use on the skin that contain high concentrations of hydroquinone be used with caution and only under the supervision of a health care professional.

There are a number of risks associated with skin-lightening products that contain hydroquinone at concentrations greater than 2%.

These products may:

  • cause severe skin redness, burning or stinging, dryness or cracking of the skin, blisters or oozing, or skin discolouration;
  • cause cancer in laboratory animals, and potentially in humans; and,
  • be harmful to the environment.

September 20, 2018

Canadians should not buy or use health products that contain 2,4-dinitrophenol, more commonly known as DNP, because it is toxic and can cause death. Products containing DNP are primarily marketed towards bodybuilders and are promoted online as a "fat burner" or "shredder" and for weight loss. There are currently no health products containing DNP approved by Health Canada because of serious safety concerns.

In the United Kingdom, five deaths between January 2018 and June 2018 have been linked to the use of DNP. Health Canada has been made aware that some Canadians may have purchased products containing DNP online. No deaths have been reported in Canada to date.

August 17, 2018

Recalled Products

Teva-Valsartan/HCTZ 80mg/12.5mg Tablet

Teva-Valsartan/HCTZ 160mg/12.5mg Tablet

Teva-Valsartan/HCTZ 320mg/12.5mg Tablet

Teva-Valsartan/HCTZ 160mg/25mg Tablet

Reason

Affected lots may be manufactured with an API containing a contaminant.

August 27, 2018

Health Canada is advising Canadians that several unauthorized products seized from Vitality Health Foods in Drayton Valley, AB, may pose serious health risks. The 11 products include vitamins, dietary supplements, workout supplements and decongestants. Seized products were labelled to contain various ingredients, including prescription drugs and controlled substances.

September 1, 2018

Health Canada is advising consumers and pet owners not to use homeopathic and veterinary products made by King Bio Inc. and labeled as "Dr. King's," "Dr King's Natural Pet" or "Natural Pet." These products may pose a health risk to people and pets, especially children, pregnant women and those with compromised immune systems, because of potential microbial contamination. According to the United States Food and Drug Administration, high levels of microbial contamination were identified at the manufacturing site in Asheville, North Carolina.

The products are being recalled by the Canadian distributor, Ecotrend Ecologics Ltd., and include products for children, adults and pets. They are promoted for various uses, including flu relief, respiratory care, arthritis and joint pain, and stress control.

June 28, 2018

Last summer, Health Canada received a higher than expected number of reports of skin reactions suspected of being associated with Banana Boat sunscreen products. As a result of these reports, Health Canada tested a wide range of sunscreen brands and has now released a summary of the results.

The Department tested 27 sunscreens from various companies in its laboratories: 18 intended for use on children or infants, and 9 intended for use on adults.

Health Canada’s testing did not identify any serious concerns with the quality of these products. Of the sunscreens tested:


  • All products were found to have a pH range close to the skin's natural pH level.
  • All products contained the amount of active ingredient that was listed on the product label.
  • None of the products contained the preservatives known to cause skin reactions: methylisothiazolinone and methylchloroisothiazolinone.
  • None of the products contained microbial contaminants above allowable levels.
July 9, 2018

Several drugs containing the ingredient valsartan are being recalled by their manufacturers. An impurity, N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA), was found in the valsartan used in these products. The valsartan was supplied by Zhejiang Huahai Pharmaceuticals. NDMA is a potential human carcinogen, which means that it could cause cancer with long-term exposure. Five companies have affected products, which are being recalled (identified in table below).

Drugs containing valsartan are used to treat patients with high blood pressure to help prevent heart attacks and stroke. These drugs are also used in patients who have had heart failure or a recent heart attack.

August 1, 2018

Health Canada seized eight unauthorized skin lotions and creams from Ayotai Canada because they are labelled to contain a prescription drug (clobetasol propionate or betamethasone dipropionate). The unauthorized lotions and creams were distributed by Ayotai and sold by various retailers in Quebec.

Prescription drugs can only be dispensed by a healthcare professional to a patient with a valid prescription. The products listed have not been evaluated by Health Canada for safety, effectiveness or quality and may pose serious health risks.

June 22, 2018

Arctic Sun 5000e Temperature Management System is being recalled. To inform customers of a voluntary field correction on all ARCTIC SUN 5000 Temperature Management Systems. An improper wiring connection on the chiller assembly may result in overheating of the connection and potential failure of certain components in the system. Bard will conduct repairs of this wiring connection either on-site or at an authorized service depot.

June 22, 2018

With the growing availability of fentanyl test strips on store shelves and online, Health Canada would like to remind Canadians of the potential limitations when using fentanyl test strips to detect fentanyl or other deadly substances in street drugs before consuming them.

No fentanyl test strips are specifically designed to check street drugs before consumption. Some strips are designed to detect fentanyl and some analogs (similar chemicals, such as carfentanil) in an individual's urine sample to determine whether they have taken the drug. Others are designed to detect fentanyl and some analogs in substances that are, for example, seized by law enforcement. Therefore, it is important that people who are using fentanyl test strips to check street drugs before consuming them understand the limitations and use the necessary precautions. Health Canada is reminding Canadians that to help prevent a fatal overdose, it is important to treat all street drugs as though they are potentially contaminated with unknown deadly substances.

June 14, 2018

Health Canada is advising Canadians about unauthorized health products that may pose serious health risks. Health Canada finds unauthorized health products that are promoted for sexual enhancement, weight loss, as a workout aid, or as “poppers,” and that are labelled to contain or have been tested and found to contain dangerous ingredients. Unauthorized health products have not been approved by Health Canada, which means that they have not been assessed for safety, effectiveness and quality. Unauthorized health products can pose many health dangers.