Health Canada suspends licence of Mississauga lab for false tests

The federal government has temporarily halted sales of some drugs Mississauga lab Chemi Pharmaceutical tested. (Getty Images/Comstock Images)

The federal government suspended the licence of a Mississauga lab company Tuesday, accusing it of falsifying pharmaceutical tests.

Health Canada announced it has taken away the licence of Chemi Pharmaceutical Inc. “after uncovering falsified testing results during the course of an inspection.” The company had been licensed by Health Canada since 2003.

Health Canada told the suspension was an unusual situation and unlike anything in the collective memory of the department’s inspectors. “We’ve never seen this level of falsification before,” they said.

The federal department also temporarily halted sales of some chemical ingredients and numerous drugs the company has tested — ranging from royal jelly powder to benzyl alcohol, Oxytocin, urea, aspirin and calcium phosphate.

Chemi is based on Bonhill Road in northeast Mississauga near Pearson International Airport and carries out tests on drugs, food, cosmetics, natural health products and other chemical compounds.

It has an extensive customer base, including companies such as Accurex Health Care Manufacturing, Alpharma, Germiphene Corp., Canadian Animal Health and Pharmalab.

During a routine inspection in October, Health Canada inspectors noted a number of issues that Chemi was told to remedy in advance of an unscheduled visit that would take place within a month.

However, on Nov. 21, Health Canada received a tip regarding falsified results and sent a team of inspectors back to Chemi the next day. After two days of inspection, the team found more falsified results than the tip had initially indicated.

Health Canada said it’s verifying the testing done by Chemi with the company’s customers, as well as investigating the timeline of events to determine when the falsification first started and if any ingredients in falsified tests have made it into the marketplace.

“Our survey of clients to date indicates that only a portion of the company’s work involved testing of final products before they entered the Canadian market,” Health Canada said in a statement.

“However, as a precautionary step, companies that have had testing done by Chemi Pharmaceutical are being asked to temporarily halt sales of those products until their safety can be confirmed.”

The federal department said it “has not seen any indication that the health of Canadians has been compromised” but told that if a product was found to be unsafe during retesting a recall would take place.

Consumers concerned about the contents of medications or other products containing the ingredients or items being retested are advised to consult their physician.

Find a list of companies and products that require further testing here.

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