Avastin Maker Warns That Counterfeit Versions of the Drug Are Circulating
Back in December, many cancer patients were upset when it was learned that the very expensive cancer treatment Avastin would no longer be covered for treatment of certain cancers due to disappointing outcomes in studies involving the drug and those types of cancer.
Avastin’s FDA approval for breast cancer treatment was also revoked late last year, after studies indicated there was little benefit if any when quality or length of life were concerned. Further, it was noted that Avastin- which blocks angiogenesis (the growth of new blood cells)- carried troubling adverse effects that include severe high blood pressure and hemorrhaging. The findings did not quell patient demand for Avastin, however, and the determination did not remove the drug from the market- instead, it merely renders it not a covered treatment for those cancers, and doctors are still able to prescribe the medication in what is known as an “off-label” fashion.
Now Avastin’s maker Genentech is warning that counterfeit Avastin has been found in hospitals and healthcare centers in the US- and the origin of the fake medication is not known. What they do know about the high profit drug copies (Avastin generates a whopping $6 billion in revenue for Genentech each year) is that it does not contain the active ingredient in Avastin.
As Avastin is administered by medical personnel, Genentech spokeswoman Charlotte Arnold says that hospitals should be on alert to find the fakes:
“We’re still analyzing what it is, we know it doesn’t contain the active ingredient in Avastin… It’s an infused medicine and not something a patient would have in their hands, so it’s really health care providers who should be on the lookout.”
The company says that the counterfeit Avastin does not say “Genentech” on the label, and pinpoints these lot numbers as associated with the medication in question- B86017, B6011 and B6010.