FDA discovers counterfeits under international pharmaceuticals

Counterfeits alert!!! Note the Avastin you're consuming!

Authorities has been able to trace 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. What exact went wrong with Avastin? Investigation has revealed that these counterfeits did not contain any bevacizumab, the active ingredient in Avastin. Instead, the ingredient was substituted with salt and starch. Also, the drug packaging was also counterfeited, bearing Roche's name and French labelling, contrasted to the authentic Avastin packaging which imprints Genentech's name and has English labelling.

This is apparently not the only case of counterfeits, with FDA raising an alarm about another batch of counterfeits vastin circulating throughout the USA, under the name Altuzan, the brand name for Avastin marketed in Turkey, which is not approved for use in the USA. An alarming 50 physician practices are discovered to have bought this fake Avastin from a supplier named Ban Dune Marketing.

Counterfeits can be said as an unavoidable problem in any pharmaceutical supply chain, given its complexity and opacity. Often, there are so many stakeholders and partners involved in the supply chain that accountability is usually compromised. With the lack of accountability gives an opportunity for counterfeits to enter the supply chain and this will erode the reputation and reliability of any pharmaceutical, be it an international giant or a domestic player.

As the saying goes ‘prevention is better than cure'. The only solution to these counterfeits is a flexibility supply chain which is visible to most players involved in the chain. Not only must communication between different part of the chain be seamless, all players must hold a similar level of ownership of the chain and responsibility towards each other. Only when the supply chain network management is done well and that appropriate infrastructures are in place, then will a pharmaceutical supply chain ensure quality and safe products for its consumers.

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Article adopted from The Pharma Letter