US warns of new fake batch of cancer drug Avastin

February 6, 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.

The FDA said in an online post Tuesday that at least one batch of the drug distributed by a New York company does not contain the active ingredient in real Avastin, which is used to treat cancers of the colon, lung, kidney and brain. The drug was distributed by Medical Device King, which also does business as Pharmalogical. The vials are packaged as Altuzan, the Turkish version of Avastin that is not approved for use in the U.S.

The agency warned doctors in April about a similar case of fake Turkish Avastin distributed by a British firm. Prior to that, the FDA announced in February an investigation into a different batch of fake Avastin distributed to doctors in several states. Both of those cases appeared to involve different networks of distributors than the latest incident.

The FDA said it's currently unclear whether any U.S. patients have received the drug. Specifically, Altuzan labeled with the lot numbers B6022B01 and B6024B01 may be counterfeit. Importing even authentic Altuzan into the U.S. is illegal, since the FDA has only reviewed Avastin as safe and effective.

The agency is asking doctors to stop using any products from Medical Device King, Pharmalogical or Taranis Medical, another affiliated business.

A telephone number listed on Medical Device King's website was not in service. Company representatives did not immediately respond to emails sent Wednesday.

Roche's Genentech unit sells Avastin in 120 countries and manufactures and packages the drug at eight sites worldwide. The drug had sales of $5.8 billion in 2012 and was Roche's second-best selling drug overall. The injectable drug usually sells for about $2,500 per vial.

The FDA warned doctors to be wary of drug prices that seem "too good to be true."

"Deep discounts may be offered because the product is stolen, counterfeit, substandard, or unapproved," the agency states.

Incidents of counterfeiting reported by drugmakers have increased steadily over the past decade, though only about 5 percent of cases are typically reported in the U.S. The rise in counterfeiting comes as pharmaceutical supply chains increasingly stretch across continents. More than 80 percent of the active ingredients used in U.S. pharmaceuticals are now manufactured overseas, according to a recent congressional report.

Explore further: FDA finds more vials of fake cancer drug

shares

Related Stories

FDA finds more vials of fake cancer drug

April 4, 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.

Roche warns of counterfeit cancer drug in US

February 14, 2012
(AP) -- The maker of the best-selling cancer drug Avastin is warning doctors and patients about counterfeit vials of the product distributed in the U.S.

Fake Avastin contained several chemicals, no drug

February 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.

US revokes Roche's Avastin for breast cancer

November 18, 2011
US health officials on Friday revoked the authorization of Roche's Avastin for breast cancer treatment, saying it concluded the drug had "not been shown to be safe and effective for that use."

Recommended for you

In most surgery patients, length of opioid prescription, number of refills spell highest risk for misuse

January 17, 2018
The possible link between physicians' opioid prescription patterns and subsequent abuse has occupied the attention of a nation in the throes of an opioid crisis looking for ways to stem what experts have dubbed an epidemic. ...

Patients receive most opioids at the doctor's office, not the ER

January 16, 2018
Around the country, state legislatures and hospitals have tightened emergency room prescribing guidelines for opioids to curb the addiction epidemic, but a new USC study shows that approach diverts attention from the main ...

FDA bans use of opioid-containing cough meds by kids

January 12, 2018
(HealthDay)—Trying to put a dent in the ongoing opioid addiction crisis, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Thursday slapped strict new restrictions on the use of opioid-containing cold and cough products by kids.

Taking ibuprofen for long periods found to alter human testicular physiology

January 9, 2018
A team of researchers from Denmark and France has found that taking regular doses of the pain reliever ibuprofen over a long period of time can lead to a disorder in men called compensated hypogonadism. In their paper published ...

Nearly one-third of Canadians have used opioids: study

January 9, 2018
Nearly one in three Canadians (29 percent) have used "some form of opioids" in the past five years, according to data released Tuesday as widespread fentanyl overdoses continue to kill.

Growing opioid epidemic forcing more children into foster care

January 8, 2018
The opioid epidemic has become so severe it's considered a national public health emergency. Addiction to prescription painkillers, such as oxycodone and morphine, has contributed to a dramatic rise in overdose deaths and ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.