Like most websites The Medicine Maker uses cookies. In order to deliver a personalized, responsive service and to improve the site, we remember and store information about how you use it. Learn more.
Business & Regulation Vaccines, Standards & Regulation, Supply Chain, Business Practice, COVID-19

Fake Sputnik V Vaccines Seized

Image credit:

Mexico’s Customs and Armed Forces have seized a fake batch of the Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine. The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), which is marketing the vaccine outside of Russia, has released a photograph of the seized batch (1). The fake vaccines appeared to be transported in cold boxes containing ice and bottles of Coca-Cola (anyone who remembers the beverage giant’s 1969 slogan “It’s the real thing,” will see some irony). RDIF points out that the find is most certainly in violation of the packaging and transportation protocols for the official vaccine. 

Around 5775 doses of the vaccine were seized and an investigation has been opened to determine the origin of the fakes (2), which were discovered when they were being transferred to a private aircraft destined for San Pedro Sula International Airport, Honduras.

According to RDIF, each vial of genuine Sputnik V vaccine contains a QR code to allow it to be traced.

Sputnik V was approved in Russia in August 2020 – ahead of any phase III results. Nevertheless, the vaccine is being rolled out in numerous countries including Argentina, Serbia, Venezuela, Mexico, Lebanon, Egypt, Iraq, Sri Lanka, Laos, Kenya, the Philippines, and Slovakia, among others. The EMA commenced a rolling review of the vaccine at the start of March.

Image credit: Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF)

Subscribe to The Medicine Maker Newsletters

When you click “Subscribe” we will email you a link, which you must click to verify the email address above and activate your subscription. If you do not receive this email, please contact us at [email protected].

  1. RDIF, “RDIF thanks Mexico for seizing illegal shipment of fake Sputnik V vaccine,” (2021). Available at
  2. Gobierno de México, “Aduanas y Ejército Mexicano decomisan vacunas SPUTNIK V en aeronave privada en la Aduana de Campeche,” (2021). Available at

Register to The Medicine Maker

Register to access our FREE online portfolio, request the magazine in print and manage your preferences.

You will benefit from:

  • Unlimited access to ALL articles
  • News, interviews & opinions from leading industry experts
  • Receive print (and PDF) copies of The Medicine Maker magazine