5. April 2012 13:27
Another counterfeit version of Roche’s cancer drug Avastin (bevacizumab) has reached US clinics via a UK-based distributor.
The fake vials reported by the FDA were labeled as Altuzan, the Turkish version of Avastin, and did not contain any active ingredient.
Most of the vials were shipped to the US by UK distributor River East Supplies, which purchased them from a wholesaler in Turkey.
The discovery follows that of a different batch of fake bevacizumab, labeled as Avastin, in the US healthcare system in February.
One of the distributors under FDA investigation for supplying vials from that batch is the owner of River East Supplies.
Altuzan is not approved for use in the US, but the availability of the fake product via Californian supplier Ban Dune Marketing – which sells cancer drugs at ‘confidential’ discounts – led doctors to purchase it.
FDA spokesperson Connie Jung commented: “What we’re seeing is a pattern of this risky practice of purchasing unapproved drugs from foreign suppliers.”
The FDA has advised doctors not to use any products purchased from Ban Dune Marketing or its sister companies Richards Pharma, Richards Services and Warwick Healthcare Solutions.
The new incident will strengthen concerns about the use of complex global supply chains for drugs, the security of high-cost cancer drugs and the economic incentives for clinicians to sidestep procurement regulations.