FDA Announces Probe of Fake Avastin Sold to Calif. Physicians
Earlier this week, FDA announced an investigationÂ into fake vials of the cancer drug Avastin that were sold to at least 19 clinics and physicians in the U.S., including 16 sites in California, the AP/Contra Costa Times reports (Perrone, AP/Contra Costa Times, 2/16).
FDA has sent letters to the health providers, warning them that they may not have purchased real Avastin (Menghrajani, "The California Report," KQED, 2/16).
Drug counterfeiters increasingly are trying to make fake versions of injectable drugs like Avastin in part because they can be sold for a higher price than regular pills. Each vial of Avastin, manufactured by Genentech, costs $2,400 (Rockoff et al., Wall Street Journal, 2/16).
Testing of the fake drug has revealed that it does not contain the active ingredient used in Avastin. FDA officials said the contents of the counterfeit drug still are being studied.
The agency said it has not received any reports of patients who were harmed by taking the fake drug (AP/Contra Costa Times, 2/16).
Tracing the Drug's Origin
Although the source of the counterfeit drug has not been discovered, U.S. and European officials said they may have traced it to a Swiss supplier and a Danish wholesaler.
In addition, FDA has identified Quality Specialty Products -- a British wholesaler also known as Montana Health Care Solutions -- as a trafficker of the false medication (Wall Street Journal, 2/16). Officials believe the drug was sold in the U.S. by Volunteer Distribution, a Tennessee company ("The California Report," KQED, 2/16).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.