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