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FDA Alert on Bad Counterfeit Avastin

We know that Avastin is expensive. Really expensive. But if you’ve been sourcing relatively inexpensive Avastin lately, you really should take a closer look at where your medication is coming from:

The FDA said in an online post Tuesday that at least one batch of the drug distributed by a New York company does not contain the active ingredient in real Avastin, which is used to treat cancers of the colon, lung, kidney and brain. The drug was distributed by Medical Device King, which also does business as Pharmalogical. The vials are packaged as Altuzan, the Turkish version of Avastin that is not approved for use in the U.S.

The agency warned doctors in April about a similar case of fake Turkish Avastin distributed by a U.K. distributor. Prior to that, the FDA announced in February an investigation into a different batch of fake Avastin distributed to doctors in several states. Both of those cases appeared to involve different networks of distributors than the latest incident.

The FDA said it’s currently unclear whether any U.S. patients have received the drug. Specifically, Altuzan labeled with the lot numbers B6022B01 and B6024B01 may be counterfeit. Importing even authentic Altuzan into the U.S. is illegal, since the FDA has only reviewed Avastin as safe and effective.

Counterfeit Avastin: FDA Warns Of New Batch Of Fake Cancer Drug

And as a reminder, if you’re looking for a cheaper, more affordable substitute for Avastin like a generic, there’s not a whole lot of good news. Avastin is a “biologic” which isn’t subject to the same laws and rules as traditional prescription drugs for generics. Because of the way that biologics like Avastin are made, it’s really unlikely that there will be a generic version of Avastin anytime in the near future, if ever. For years, the most profitable drugs—mostly pills made of chemicals—have been fairly easy for generics companies to copy, requiring a straightforward chemical synthesis. But the next wave includes more-complicated inhaled drugs like Advair and others made of complex biological ingredients like Avastin. Replicating them will require skills that many generics makers don’t yet have.

Even if technology improves and the laws regarding biologics change, Avastin is protected by a fistful of patents, so the chances of a generic version of Avastin in the near future are pretty dim. Last year, Amgen was able to get the patent for another biologic drug, Enbrel, extended for another 16 years. Yes, that means that it is going to be at least another 16 years before it’s even possible for Enbrel to become available in the U.S. And we wouldn’t be surprised if Genentech which makes Avastin tries something similar to fight to keep the Avastin patents as long as possible too, which would keep generic Avastin off the market indefinitely.

Do you use Avastin? Tell us about it in our prescription drug forum!

Join the forum discussion on this post

Related posts:

  1. Will Generic Avastin Ever Be Available in the U.S.?
  2. Finding Cheaper, More Affordable Avastin… Somewhere
  3. Are Generic Avastin, Humira or Enbrel Finally On the Way?
  4. Could Avastin Be a Cheaper Option for AMD?
  5. Medicare Will Pay for Avastin and Provenge, But Are They Worth It?

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