Another counterfeit cancer medicine found in U.S. - Illegal practice puts patients at risk
Statement Update Issued: July 10. 2012
Statement Update Issued: April 25, 2012
FDA has issued letters to medical practices in the United States that purchased unapproved cancer medications from Quality Specialty Products (QSP) (also known as Montana Health Care Solutions), and distributed through Volunteer Distribution of Gainesboro, Tennessee that may include counterfeit versions of Altuzan.
Statement Update Issued: April 17, 2012
In a related action, FDA has issued letters to medical practices in the United States that purchased unapproved cancer medications that may include counterfeit versions of Altuzan.
Statement Issued: April 3, 2012
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is alerting healthcare professionals that another cancer drug, originating from a foreign source and purchased by U.S. medical practices, has been determined to be counterfeit. Medical practices that purchase and administer illegal and unapproved foreign medications are putting patients at risk of exposure to drugs that may be fake, contaminated, improperly stored and transported, ineffective, and dangerous. Illegal drugs purchased from foreign sources may not be genuine or meet appropriate quality, safety, and efficacy standards, putting patients at risk and depriving them of proper treatment.
Patients receiving cancer drugs or other drugs not approved by the FDA for the U.S. market may not be receiving needed therapy. Patients are encouraged to discuss any concerns they may have about the source of their medications with their healthcare professional.
FDA lab tests have confirmed that a counterfeit version of Roche’s Altuzan 400mg/16ml (bevacizumab), an injectable cancer medication, found in the U.S. contains no active ingredient. Even if the identified drugs were not counterfeit, Altuzan is not approved by FDA for use in the United States (it is an approved drug in Turkey). On February 14, FDA issued an alert about another cancer drug in U.S. distribution that was purchased from a foreign source and found to be counterfeit.
Medical practices obtained the counterfeit Altuzan and other unapproved products through foreign sources, in particular from Richards Pharma, also known as Richards Services, Warwick Healthcare Solutions, or Ban Dune Marketing Inc (BDMI). Many, if not all, of the products sold and distributed through this distributor have not been approved by the FDA. The agency cannot ensure that the manufacture and handling of these illegal products follows U.S. regulations, nor can FDA ensure that these drugs are safe and effective for their intended uses.
Any medical practice that has obtained unapproved products, in particular from Richards Pharma, Richards Services, Warwick Healthcare Solutions, or Ban Dune Marketing Inc (BDMI), should stop using them and contact the FDA. The products should be retained and securely stored until further notice by the FDA.
Healthcare professionals and patients should report adverse events related to the use of suspect injectable cancer medicines to the FDA’s MedWatch Safety Information and Adverse Event Reporting Program either online, by regular mail, by fax, or by phone. Health care professionals and consumers can either:
- Complete and submit the report online: www.fda.gov/MedWatch/report.htm, or
- Download form or call 1-800-332-1088 to request a reporting form, then complete and return to the address on the pre-addressed form, or submit by fax to 1-800-FDA-0178.
FDA is asking the public to report suspect counterfeit products and other suspect products obtained from Richards Pharma, Richards Services, Warwick Healthcare Solutions, Ban Dune Marketing Inc (BDMI), or other sources:
- Call FDA’s Office of Criminal Investigations (OCI) at 800-551-3989, or
- Visit OCI’s Web site (www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/email/oc/oci/contact.cfm), or
For more information about counterfeit medicine: http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/ResourcesForYou/Consumers/BuyingUsingMedicineSafely/CounterfeitMedicine/default.htm.
Pictures of the counterfeit version of Altuzan are shown below:
Packaging or vials found in the U.S. that claim to be Roche’s Altuzan with lot number B6021 should be considered counterfeit.