KAWARTHA LAKES-Health Canada is warning residents about counterfeit BTNX Rapid Response COVID-19 antigen rapid test kits (25-pack boxes) found in Ontario.
Health Canada says the counterfeit devices were sold online by a distributor named Healthful Plus, without the required licence to import, distribute or sell medical devices in Canada.
The packaging of the counterfeit kits resembles authentic (licensed) BTNX Inc. products in colour and typeface and uses the BTNX Inc. device identifier “COV-19C25”; however, unlike authentic BTNX Inc. products, the counterfeit kits:
- are labelled as manufactured by “Health Advance Inc.” instead of BTNX Inc.;
- lists Health Advance as an “Official Canadian Distributor”; and
- includes the text “Health Canada Approved”. Claims of endorsement by government authorities, such as Health Canada, are not permitted.
Counterfeit health products are imitations of authentic products. Officials say the safety and effectiveness of these counterfeit kits have not been assessed by Health Canada.
After becoming aware of the potential counterfeit kits, Health Canada confirmed with BTNX Inc. that the devices were counterfeit. Health Canada also received confirmation from the purchaser of the counterfeit products that they had purchased the kits for personal use. The entire shipment, which contained 435 boxes of the 25-pack, was sent to Health Canada for compliance follow-up.
Based on information to date, the issue appears to be limited to one manufacturer, Health Advance Inc., and one distributor, Healthful Plus. Health Advance Inc. appears to no longer be manufacturing medical devices and Healthful Plus’s website has been removed and the company appears to no longer be in operation.
COVID-19 rapid antigen tests help to detect infection and slow the spread of the disease. Health Canada is informing the provinces and territories about this issue, as well as Medical Device Establishment License holders, advising them to not purchase from the two companies or further distribute.
- Canadians are advised not to use any of the components contained in these counterfeit kits regardless of how much they may resemble components found in other licensed COVID-19 test kits sold in Canada.
- Health Canada has no evidence to suggest that additional counterfeit kits have been distributed in Canada.
- If you suspect you have a counterfeit kit, do not use it and dispose of it in household garbage. Report suspected counterfeit medical devices to Health Canada. You can also report suspected counterfeit BTNX test kits to BTNX Inc. by calling toll-free at 1-888-339-9964, or by email at [email protected] with the subject line “Suspected Counterfeit BTNX Tests.”
- It is illegal to sell or advertise counterfeit health products
- When non-compliance is confirmed by Health Canada, a number of compliance and enforcement options are available to correct non-compliance and mitigate the risk to Canadians including, for example, on-site visits, recalls, public communications, and product seizures. The primary objective of Health Canada’s compliance and enforcement approach is to manage the risks to Canadians using the most appropriate level of intervention.
This table compares the counterfeit vs. authentic BTNX Inc. kits and gives tips for what to look for.
Counterfeit BTNX test kit (25-pack)
Authentic BTNX test kit (25-pack)
Counterfeit box (top)
Health Advance name and phone number along with text
Authentic box (top)
Authentic boxes are sealed with a clear sticker with blue
Counterfeit box (side)
Health Advance name and phone number appear on box.
Authentic box (side)
BTNX Inc. name, address and symbol appear on box.
Counterfeit kits – three open boxes
Each box has varying contents, including varying test
Authentic kit – open box
Shown here: test cassettes, tube stand, assay buffer, swabs,
Note, assay buffer may come in bottles (shown here) or 25
Not shown here: extraction tubes and nozzle filters
Counterfeit kits – cassette pouch found in some kits
Expiry date and lot number may not match the box. Pouches
Authentic kit – box and cassette pouch (back)
Lot number and expiry date on cassette pouch should match the