Potentially counterfeit Covid-19 tests have been offered for sale to Irish individuals and businesses, the Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA) has confirmed. A spokesperson for the Authority said a “small number” of such instances had occurred to date, but that the supply was successfully “interrupted” through the co-operation of would-be purchasers.

“The HPRA is aware of a small number of instances where potentially falsified Covid-19 tests have been offered to individuals/entities in Ireland and with their co-operation, this supply has been interrupted,” said the spokesperson.

“Should the public have concerns in relation to potentially falsified tests available in Ireland, they are encouraged to report the issue to the HPRA via email at devices@hpra.ie or enforcementcontrol@hpra.ie.”

The HPRA monitors medical devices placed on the Irish market and conducts inspections at medical device manufacturing facilities. It also monitors the market for potentially falsified medical devices, including in vitro diagnostic tests related to Covid-19. Last year, the HPRA detained 1.6 million units of illegal medicines, an increase of 58 per cent on 2019 (see feature, p8).

Among these were more than 56,000 units of Covid-19 medicines, the majority of which related to traditional Chinese medicine not approved or authorised for use in Ireland. Meanwhile, the Authority said the supply of medicines has not been “significantly” affected by Brexit and is unlikely to be in the future based on comparisons of drug shortage data for 2020 and 2021.

“This is reflected in the number of medicines shortages that have been notified to the HPRA in the first five months of 2021, which is fully consistent with previous years,” said the spokesperson.