Public advisory

Unauthorized products seized at Calgary retailer may pose serious health risks

Starting date:
April 29, 2016
Type of communication:
Source of recall:
Health Canada
Unauthorized products
General Public
Identification number:


Health Canada seized seventeen unauthorized health products from the retailer, Matrioshka Russian Delicatessen, in Calgary, Alberta. Two unauthorized products were labelled with prescription drug ingredients (captopril and sulfanilamide). The retailer was selling unauthorized health products with packaging labelled in Russian, Ukrainian or Kazakh languages only, with the exception of some ingredients which are listed in English. As a result, information about usage, dosage and side effects may not be understood by all consumers.

Products that contain prescription drug ingredients should only be taken under the supervision of a health professional because they are used to treat specific diseases, and may cause serious side effects.

The seized products have not been approved by Health Canada. This means that they have not been assessed for their safety, effectiveness and quality. As a result, they may contain ingredients not listed on the label, other additives and/or contaminated ingredients. In addition, they may lack the active ingredients Canadians would expect them to contain to help maintain and improve their health or other ingredients that may interact with other medications and foods. For all of these reasons, they could cause serious health effects.

What you should do

  • Consult with your health-care professional if you have used any of these products and have health concerns.
  • Read the product label. Health products that have been authorized for sale by Health Canada have an eight-digit DIN, a DIN-HM or a NPN.
  • Verify that your health products have been authorized for sale by searching the Drug Product Database and the Licensed Natural Health Product Database.
  • Report any adverse events to Health Canada
  • Report complaints about health products to Health Canada by calling toll-free to 1-800-267-9675, or complete an online complaint form.

What retailers should know:

Selling unauthorized drugs in Canada is illegal.When unauthorized drugs that may pose serious risks to health are identified on the Canadian market, Health Canada takes appropriate action to prevent further distribution of the products and informs Canadians.

Who is affected

Consumers who have purchased or used any of these products.



Captopril is a prescription drug  used in the treatment of high blood pressure (hypertension), congestive heart failure and kidney problems caused by diabetes. Captopril should only be used under medical supervision. When taken in high doses, captopril can result in excessive lowering of blood pressure, which   may result in weakness, dizziness, fainting, or kidney failure. Captopril should not be used by pregnant women or women who are trying to get pregnant as it can cause injury or death to an unborn baby.


Sulfanilamide is a prescription drug that was previously available in Canada to treat vaginal yeast infections caused by Candida albicans. It was available to be used intravaginally only, but has been discontinued from the market. It is currently available in Canada only for veterinary use. Ingesting sulfanilamide by mouth may cause irritation of the stomach and intenstines. Overexposure may cause a blood disorder known as methemoglobinemia. Sulfanilamide can damage the liver, the blood system and may cause skin to be overly sensitive to light  when used in large oral doses.

Report health or safety concerns

  • Call Health Canada toll-free at 1-866-234-2345.
  • Visit MedEffect Canada's web page on Adverse Reaction Reporting for information on how to report online, by mail or by fax.

Stay connected with Health Canada and receive the latest advisories and product recalls using social media tools.

Media enquiries

Health Canada
(613) 957-2983

Public enquiries

(613) 957-2991
1-866 225-0709

What Health Canada is doing

Health Canada has seized the products from the retail location. Should additional retailers or distributors of these products be identified, Health Canada will take appropriate action and inform Canadians.


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