Swiss drug maker, Roche, released details of the contents of the counterfeit Avastin found in 19 U.S. cancer clinics.

Acetone

Acetone
by Pheezy via Flickr.

Swiss drug maker, Roche, released details of the contents of the counterfeit Avastin that may have been purchased by 19 U.S. cancer clinics.

The vials were sold and re-sold over six times from Egypt to the United Kingdom to the United States, before distribution through an unauthorized distributor who sold medications to 19 American cancer clinics. While the original report was that the medication did not contain the active ingredient, Roche has now revealed that their tests picked up traces of ten substances, including starch, salt and the solvent acetone, used to remove paint, reports CBS News.

Roche said it was unclear if the substances would cause harm to the patients.

British regulators confirmed that 41 vials of fake Avastin were shipped to the U.S. and only five have been recovered, reports the Washington Post.

While starch and salt are common to biotech drugs, acetone is not, because it doesn’t have a medical use, said Dr. Philip Cole of Johns Hopkins University to the Washington Post.

Reuters reported that in addition to the acetone, starch and salt, the other components were citrate, isopropanol, propandiol, t-butanol, benzoic acid, di-fluorinated benzene, acetone and phthalate moiety.

By S. Imber