publication date: Oct. 3, 2014

html Feds vs Docs.html

By Will Craft

Two years ago, British authorities tested a shipment of chemotherapy drugs headed for North America.

They found that the agent, labeled as Genentech’s Avastin, contained no trace of Avastin’s active ingredient. The drugs were on the way to Canada, where they were to be sold to doctors throughout the U.S.

After this discovery and a subsequent investigation, FDA notified over 150 doctors across 33 states that cancer drugs they had purchased at strikingly low prices had been mislabeled, and thus considered unapproved and counterfeit.

The drugs, discounted by as much as 50 percent compared to U.S. market prices, might have been expected to raise suspicion.

The packaging—some marked in foreign languages, with versions of the drugs not approved for sale in the U.S.—might have triggered skepticism as well. Avastin, for example, was purchased by American oncologists under its Turkish brand name: Altuzan.

Less obvious was the fact that the Altuzan in question contained no trace of bevacizumab, and that some of the drugs brought in by these importers were improperly stored. Some doctors had been buying these drugs since 2007, documents show.

U.S. prosecutors say that many of the oncology practices had knowingly purchased these illegal drugs and administered them to patients. The practices then submitted reimbursement claims for the full price of the drugs—and pocketed the difference.

On Aug. 15, two years after discovery of the global scheme, FDA announced that a key supplier of the drugs, Sabahaddin Akman pled guilty … Continue reading 40-37 Fake Avastin, Paid for by Medicare, Administered to U.S. Patients

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