Federal health officials have issued another warning about counterfeits of the cancer drug Avastin that have been distributed in the U.S.
This is the third warning issued by the Food and Drug Administration in the last year about the presence of counterfeit Avastin that has been sold into the U.S. According to an AP report this week, the FDA announced on Tuesday that a New York company is distributing the Turkish form of the popular prescription drug treatment of several cancers. In Turkey, Avastin is marketed as Altuzan and that has not been approved by the FDA for use in the U.S.
At least one batch of the counterfeit Avastin sold by the New York company, Pharmalogical, does not contain the Active Ingredient found normally in the approved forms of the drug available in the U.S. Pharmalogical also does business under several other names, including Medical Device King, which is responsible for shipping the bogus Avastin to physicians here in the U.S.
The agency has not identified the medical practices or physicians who may have purchased Altuzan instead of Avastin. The FDA is warning that drugs marked Altuzan and the Lot numbers B6022B01 and B6024B01 may be counterfeit. The FDA said that doctors should stop using all products from either Medical Device King, Pharmalogical, or Taranis Medical, another name Pharmalogical does business as.
Avastin is a popular injection drug used in the treatment of colon, kidney, lung, and brain cancer. A vial of the drug can cost upwards of $2,800 so the demand for inexpensive forms of the drug have apparently risen. There is no generic form of the Roche Holdings AG drug so some physicians are apparently seeking counterfeit forms of it, believing that just because the FDA hasn’t reviewed it for safety means it’s dangerous.
This is the third warning concerning counterfeit Avastin, specifically, in the last year from the FDA and the market for counterfeit drugs continues to grow as the cost of healthcare and prescription drugs increases. Physicians should be wary of any drugs that are selling markedly lower than the normal price. The FDA said in its warning: “Deep discounts may be offered because the product is stolen, counterfeit, substandard, or unapproved.”