Drug watchdog urges vigilance in cancer drug theft

Europe's medicine watchdog urged doctors Thursday to be vigilant in administering the cancer drug Herceptin, vials of which had been stolen in Italy and tampered with before being sold back into the supply chain.

Vials of the drug had been stolen from Italian hospitals in several incidents since last December, and some were tampered with before being resold to wholesalers, said the European Medicines Agency.

It said "only a small number of vials" found their way back into the market in Europe, but could not say how many. And the agency stressed there was no evidence of any harm having come to patients.

Vials of another cancer drug, Alimta and of Remicade, an anti-inflammatory, have also been stolen, but have not yet been found back in circulation, the agency added.

"Healthcare professionals are reminded to pay extra attention when handling or administering any of the concerned medicines," it said in a statement.

Fake Herceptin vials can be identified by batch numbers and expiry dates on vials not matching the outer package, the presence of a liquid in vials meant to contain a powder, or evidence of tampering on the rubber stoppers.

Herceptin, manufactured by Swiss drug giant Roche, is used to treat breast and .

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

FDA finds more vials of fake cancer drug

Apr 04, 2012

(AP) -- The Food and Drug Administration is warning doctors that a second counterfeit version of the best-selling cancer drug Avastin has been found in the U.S., packaged as the Turkish brand of the medication.

EU regulator: No more problems with Roche drugs

Nov 19, 2013

The European Medicines Agency says it has finished an investigation of the way pharmaceutical giant Roche reported side effects for 19 drugs in the U.S. and has found no new safety concerns.

US warns of new fake batch of cancer drug Avastin

Feb 06, 2013

The Food and Drug Administration is warning U.S. doctors about another counterfeit version of the cancer drug Avastin, the third case involving the best-selling Roche drug in the past year.

Fake Avastin contained several chemicals, no drug

Feb 28, 2012

(AP) -- Counterfeit versions of the popular cancer drug Avastin obtained by European regulators contain a variety of chemicals, but not the active ingredient found in the genuine drug, according to drugmaker Roche.

Recommended for you

Boxed warnings are common in novel therapeutics

12 hours ago

(HealthDay)—Boxed warnings are common on recent drug approvals, and many occur years after approval, according to a research letter published online Aug. 15 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

AstraZeneca says DOJ closes probe into drug trial

13 hours ago

British drugmaker AstraZeneca says the U.S. Department of Justice has closed its investigation into a clinical trial of the company's blood thinner Brilinta, and plans no further action.

Perampanel for epilepsy: Still no proof of added benefit

14 hours ago

The drug perampanel (trade name Fycompa) has been approved since July 2012 as adjunctive ("add-on") therapy for adults and children aged 12 years and older with epileptic fits (seizures). In a new early benefit assessment ...

User comments