The Food and Drug Administration is warning doctors that a second counterfeit version of the best-selling cancer drug, Avastin, has been found in the U.S., packaged as the Turkish brand of the medication.
The FDA said that the counterfeits do not contain the active ingredient in Avastin, which is used to treat cancers of the colon, lung, kidney and brain. The vials are packaged as Altuzan, the Turkish version of Avastin that is not approved for use in the U.S. The agency says any packages or vials labeled with the lot number B6021 should be considered counterfeit.
Doctors bought the counterfeits through Richards Pharma, a U.K.-licensed distributor that also does business as Richards Services, Warwick Healthcare Solutions and Ban Dune Marketing Inc.
British regulators said that Richards Pharma imported 120 packs of the fake Altuzan from Turkey. Thirty-eight packets were shipped directly to the U.S., while the rest were sold to another U.K. distributor who then shipped them to the U.S. U.K. authorities were notified of the fake product by the FDA on March 28, according to a statement from the country’s Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency.
In February the FDA announced an investigation into a different batch of fake Avastin distributed to doctors in several states. Those counterfeits appeared to have moved through a different network of distributors. European regulators traced the packages through Britain, Denmark, Switzerland and the Middle East. The original country of origin remains unclear.