FDA warns of counterfeit cancer drug Avastin

February 7, 2013

FDA has alerted healthcare professionals that a counterfeit version of the cancer drug Avastin was distributed in the United States.

 

FDA has alerted healthcare professionals that a counterfeit version of the cancer drug Avastin was distributed in the United States.

The unapproved cancer medicine was distributed by a New York company Medical Device King-also known as Pharmalogical-is counterfeit. FDA lab tests have confirmed that at least 1 batch of a counterfeit version of Roche’s Altuzan (bevacizumab) distributed in the United States contains no active ingredient.

Even if the identified product were not counterfeit, Altuzan, an injectable cancer medicine, is not approved by FDA for sale in the United States. The only FDA-approved version of bevacizumab for sale in the United States is Avastin, marketed by Genentech.

Medical practices that have obtained any medical products from Medical Device King, Pharmalogical, and Taranis Medical (another company associated with Pharmalogical) should stop using the products due to concern that the products may be unsafe or not effective. Healthcare professionals should contact FDA’s Office of Criminal Investigations (OCI) to arrange for the collection of these products.

“It is unfortunate that physicians and other healthcare providers must be constantly vigilant of unscrupulous and sinister ways in which people will attempt to profit over the sickness of others,” said Formulary Advisor James M. Wooten, PharmD, associate professor, department of medicine, University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine. “Physicians, nurses, and pharmacists should pay close attention to where and how those prescribed medications are obtained. This is especially true of chemotherapeutic drugs where the risk of the incorrect drug or dose can be quite dangerous.”