Omega-XL warns of imposter product

Monday, October 8, 2018 - 07:15

Fake ver­sions of the pop­u­lar Omega-XL "su­per oil" are once again be­ing sold in T&T.

The Flori­da-based Great Health­Works, which man­u­fac­tures the sup­ple­ment, is warn­ing con­sumers that some lo­cal sell­ers are now us­ing their coun­ter­feit la­bels on bot­tles of fake drugs and sell­ing it off as the bonafide Omega-XL brand.

On Fri­day, the com­pa­ny’s chief op­er­at­ing of­fi­cer, Miles Du Preé, told the Sun­day Guardian the coun­ter­feit prod­ucts were dis­cov­ered lo­cal­ly about a month ago.

Omega XL is a di­etary sup­ple­ment ex­tract­ed from the New Zealand green-lipped mus­sel and Great Health­Works says it can re­duce joint pain as­so­ci­at­ed with in­flam­ma­tion and in­flam­ma­to­ry con­di­tions.

“We sus­pect­ed some­thing about a month ago and I came to Trinidad and we were able to con­firm that the prod­uct is not ours. Some­one is print­ing their own la­bels and putting them on bot­tles that look like ours and sell­ing them as though it’s our prod­uct,” a con­cerned Du Preé said.

Du Preé said the Health­Works has on­ly one dis­trib­u­tor in T&T in Joseph Sendall, who is the di­rec­tor of XL Health TT.

Du Preé said his com­pa­ny has reached out to the Min­istry of Health’s Food and Drug Di­vi­sion and is al­so do­ing its own in­ves­ti­ga­tion to find the per­son who coun­ter­feit­ed their la­bels and is sell­ing an­oth­er drug prod­uct as Omega-XL.

“In ad­di­tion to the ob­vi­ous coun­ter­feit­ing, we don’t know what is be­ing put in­to these pills that con­sumers are us­ing, so there is the ob­vi­ous health risk of us­ing it,” Du Preé said.

“We are def­i­nite­ly pur­su­ing crim­i­nal charges against the per­son who did this, who­ev­er it is. They did not un­der­stand whom they were mess­ing with, this some­thing they are go­ing to re­gret.”

He said in the in­ter­im, the com­pa­ny will put out a se­ries of tele­vi­sion, news­pa­per and bill­board ad­ver­tise­ments to sen­si­tise the pub­lic to the dif­fer­ences be­tween the orig­i­nal and the coun­ter­feit prod­ucts.

“It is very easy to spot the fakes by check­ing the la­bels, there are nu­mer­ous spelling mis­takes so if you know what the orig­i­nal looks like, it will be easy to spot.”

He said the coun­ter­feit prod­uct is al­so be­ing sold for less than the orig­i­nal.

“When we first found out, we asked the phar­ma­cies that car­ry our prod­uct to drop the price low­er than usu­al and with­in a few days we re­alised the price of the coun­ter­feits had dropped even low­er.”

How­ev­er, he said al­though this prob­lem is not unique to the Trinidad and To­ba­go mar­ket, he has not seen it on such a scale in any oth­er part of the world.

This is not the first time that the com­pa­ny has faced is­sues with coun­ter­feit prod­ucts in T&T. Back in 2012, the com­pa­ny al­so is­sued a state­ment to lo­cal con­sumers warn­ing that their di­etary sup­ple­ments were be­ing sold un­der dif­fer­ent la­bels.

  - by Sharlene Rampersad