Fake Avastin reignites ‘track-and-trace’ debate, but the clock is ticking

AvastinThe US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced in February that counterfeit vials of Roche/Genentech’s cancer drug Avastin were sold to a number of medical practices across the country. While the exact sources of the phony drug remain a mystery, authorities traced the fake batch through several distributors throughout Canada, the UK, Denmark and Switzerland to only end up with an unlicensed supplier in the Middle East as the possible culprit.  When tested, the phony batch did not contain any bevacizumab, the active ingredient in Avastin, which was substituted with salt and starch. Along with fake batch numbers, the drug packaging was also counterfeit, bearing Roche’s name and French labelling, contrasted to the authentic Avastin packaging which imprints Genentech’s name and has English labelling.

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