American pharmaceutical company, Pfizer has confirmed counterfeit versions of its COVID-19 vaccine in Mexico and Poland.
Pfizer spokesperson who confirmed this on Wednesday, said the development is adding to the running tally of scam attempts in the U.S. and internationally.
The spokesperson said, “We are cognizant that in this type of environment — fueled by the ease and convenience of e-commerce and anonymity afforded by the Internet — there will be an increase in the prevalence of fraud, counterfeit and other illicit activity as it relates to vaccines and treatments for COVID-19.”
According to the spokesperson, the suspected doses of its coronavirus vaccine that were seized in Mexico and Poland were indeed fake, with doses going for as much as $1,000 a shot.
Reports say some 80 people received bogus doses of the drug at a clinic in Mexico. The shots which appeared to have been physically harmless, offered no protection against the potentially deadly disease ravaging the country.
A source revealed that a cosmetic product was inside the vials of fake vaccine in Poland.
Pfizer after the warning of the World Health Organization about “falsified” Pfizer vaccines in March, tested the bogus vials and found they did not contain the two-shot vaccine it developed with BioNTech.
Pfizer’s head of global security, Lev Kubiak, blamed this on the desperate need and the shortfall in vaccines.
Kubiak said, “We have a very limited supply, a supply that will increase as we ramp up and other companies enter the vaccine space. In the interim, there is a perfect opportunity for criminals.”
The U.S Justice Department’s International Computer Hacking and Intellectual Property attorneys in Latin America and Eastern Europe confirmed their awareness of the counterfeit Pfizer vaccines identified in Mexico and Poland, adding that they “are seeking to coordinate with and support local authorities and Pfizer, as needed.”