Continuing the medical communities' concern over counterfeit medications, the Wall Street Journal recently reported that the administration of counterfeit Avastin (bevacizumab) , a cancer fighting drug, has continued to increase nationwide. The Food and Drug Administration released a warning that Canada Drugs, a Winnipeg-based company may have distributed such counterfeit medication to US Physicians, which were then given to numerous cancer patients. Counterfeit cancer drugs are being discovered in increasing amounts, due to the drugs being known internationally as money makers. Authorities now believe that the counterfeit Avastin originated in China, where more lenient regulations and accelerated industrialization has allowed for such production to continue undetected. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) names foreign distributors such as Clinical Care, Quality Specialty Products (QSP), Montana Health Care Solutions, and Bridgewater Medical as other companies that may be distributing the counterfeit medication.
The FDA has released warnings to health care officials, alerting them to the counterfeit versions of Avastin, which do not contain the medicine’s active ingredient (bevacizumab) and may have resulted in the patient not receiving the appropriate therapy intended by the drug. The only FDA approved version of Avastin for use in the United States is marketed by Genetech (which is a member company of Roche, who initially tested and discovered the counterfeit Avastin), and does NOT include the Roche logo on the packaging or the vials. The FDA approved version is also marked with a six digit batch number and an expiration date in a three letter month and four digital year format.
If you believe you may have been exposed to a counterfeit version of Avastin, it is important that you contact your medical care provider at once. Upon any confirmation of administration of the counterfeit drug, it is also important to seek legal representation. The administration of the counterfeit form of Avastin could have left you without the active ingredient necessary for cancer treatment. Checking the FDA website, this blog, and with your medical care provider, are the first steps towards ensuring your health and continued administration of non-counterfeit medication.