The ministry reported that complaints were received from citizens about the presence of fake products in Costa Rica
/ A.M. Costa Rica wire services photo

-Published: Wednesday, October 9, 2019-

Alert on two versions of fake Colgate toothpaste

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Ministry of Health, issued an alert Tuesday on two types of  Colgate brand toothpaste.  Counterfeit copies of the real product have entered the market.

According to the ministry, the first alerts about Colgate Triple Action and Colgate Double Freshness were issued by the health authorities of Panamá in September.

"The detection of counterfeit toothpaste units in that country was in Chiriqui and Herrera provinces," said the ministry in its statement.

However, after the publication of the alert, the ministry reported that complaints were received from citizens about the presence of fake products in Costa Rica, mostly in small grocery stores.

The agents of the ministry made the seizures of the fake Colgate products, at the places where the complaints had been reported. Then in tests of the Laboratory of Analysis and Pharmaceutical Counseling, it was confirmed that the product contains an ingredient, known as diethylene glycol or SDR, which is not declared on the product labeling and that may be harmful to health, the ministry said.

According to the ministry, the SDR is a compound that is used as an antifreeze and sometimes as a glycerin replacement thickener. It is rapidly absorbed through the digestive and respiratory tract and by prolonged skin contact.

"Central American health regulations prohibit the use of SDRs in cosmetic products," said the ministry in its statement.

Also, the company Colgate Costa Rica confirmed that counterfeit products were found and said the fakes display the following two characteristics:

- The production lot number is L9099GT1025.

- The expiration date on the box is 04/22, which means April 2022.

According to the company Colgate-Palmolive, all original toothpaste is valid for two years from date of manufacture. "This allows us to recognize fake products because they indicate expiration in 2022," said the company in its statement.

Other features associated with the counterfeit product, according to Colgate are:

- The mentholated taste is a little noticeable.

- The taste and smell are strange and do not match the smell of the original products.

- The consistency of toothpaste is very viscous.

- The tube of more inflexible and display records of the lot code in the front part. The original version displays the lot code in the back part.

- It is more difficult to open the case because it was sealed with silicone.

- The colors of the box are more blurred and not as bright as in the original box.

Due to the risk to the health of consumers, ministry specialists recommend:

- Do not sell, buy or use the products with the characteristics indicated above.

- In case of suspicion of a false toothpaste, deliver the product to the Ministry of Health.

- Those with suspicion that fake products are in their community can make a complaint to (506) 2223-0333.

Related on fake products, as A.M. Costa Rica reported Thursday, the ministry said the sale of sexual enhancer products for men of the brands Mero Macho, Sex-Max and Toro-Sexx do not have the proper authorization and registration process for sale in the country.

According to the ministry's report, officials from that institution found the products during an inspection in the community of Upala* in the province of Alajuela.

In that operation, thousands of products were mostly seized due to the lack of a sanitary registration. Those products were being sold in a macrobiotic store where they were advertised as sexual energizers with natural ingredients.

"Products that do not have a sanitary record imply a risk to public health because they have not been evaluated to determine whether they are suitable for use or consumption," said the ministry in its statement. "There is no certainty of its true origin or of the conditions under which they have been produced, stored and transported."

The lab analyzes carried out by the Laboratory of Pharmaceutical Analysis of the ministry, confirmed that these products contained the substance known as sildenafil.

Sildenafil, sold as the brand name Viagra among others, is a medication used to treat erectile dysfunction and pulmonary arterial hypertension.

According to the ministry, the information that the product has on its packaging does not show this ingredient. However, laboratory results confirmed the substance in the product that can put in risk the health of the consumer.

Although sildenafil was not found in Toro-Sexx tablets, it cannot be ruled out that the product contains other ingredients that may be harmful to health, said the ministry. This substance may be harmful to patients with uncontrolled hypertension or hypotension, acute myocardial infarction, uncontrolled arrhythmias, history of stroke or other medical conditions, said the ministry.

Sildenafil can react with other medications and cause various adverse reactions. For these reasons, the use of those illegal products is especially dangerous, said the ministry.

General Health Law No.5395 prohibits the production, trade and use of unregistered, adulterated and counterfeit products. People found guilty of selling illegal products will be sanctioned by the authorities.

The ministry called on the population to report any suspected sale of contraband products to the telephone number (506) 2223-0333

The A.M. Costa Rica staff request readers to share this alert with their contacts.

Have you heard of illegal products being sold in your community?  We would like to know your thoughts on this story. Send your comments to:


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