Fake Anti-Cancer Drug Avastin Found Again in US

Posted April 4th, 2012 at 4:15 pm (UTC-5)
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For the second time in two months, a fake version of the widely used anti-cancer drug Avastin has been found in the United States.

The U.S. government's Food and Drug Administration warned doctors late Tuesday that the counterfeit Avastin does not contain the active ingredient used to treat colon, lung, kidney and brain cancers.

British medical regulators said Wednesday that a licensed wholesale drug company in Britain bought 120 packs of the fake medicine from a Turkish company. The regulators said the British firm shipped 38 of the packs to the U.S. It sold the other 82 packs to another British wholesaler, which also exported them to the U.S.

All of the vials were labeled as Altuzan, the Turkish version of Avastin, which is not approved for use in the U.S. No deaths have been reported through use of the counterfeit drug.

In February, U.S. regulators said a different batch of fake Avastin was distributed to doctors in several states. European officials traced its shipment through several countries, but the country of origin remains unclear.

The Swiss-based drugmaker Roche manufactures the legitimate Avastin, with annual sales totaling $6 billion.