Archive for February 2013

Health Care Provider Alert: Another Counterfeit Cancer Medicine Found in United States

This is a reprint of an FDA Alert. Purchasing Unapproved Drugs is Risky Business [2/5/2013] The Food and Drug Administration is committed to protecting the supply chain against counterfeit and unapproved medicines that enter the United States through fraudulent sources. As part of this vigilance, FDA is alerting health care professionals that an unapproved cancer…

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7 Sentenced in China For Producing Toxic Gel Medicine Capsules

View in larger map 7 people in China have been sentenced up to 11 years in jail for producing chromium-laced gel medicine capsules. The case first came to light in April 2012 , when Chinese authorities arrested 72 people for producing drug capsules produced from industrial grade gelatin rendered from leather processing. Who: Chinese State…

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3rd Instance of Counterfeit Cancer Treatment Found in United States

View larger map A third instance of a counterfeit version of the cancer therapy drug Avastin, labeled Altuzan (as it is labeled in Turkey) has been found in the United States, announced the FDA. The FDA has conducted tests on samples of the drug and found them to be counterfeit. Medical practices obtained the counterfeit…

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Update On Fake Avastin – FDA Warnings in 28 States, Six Prosecutions

On February 12, 2012, the FDA sent out a public warning that counterfeit versions of the injectable cancer medication Avastin, had been found in the US drug supply chain. Since that time, a second warning was issued on counterfeits of the Turkish version of Avastin, Altuzan had also been found in the US, five US citizens, including three doctors have been prosecuted for selling or purchasing misbranded cancer medication, and an additional 134 doctors in 28 states have been sent FDA warning letters concerning their dealings with the foreign supplier that was the source of the counterfeit Avastin.

In the last 12 months, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued warning letters to 134 US doctors informing them that they may have purchased counterfeit cancer medication. They were warned about purchases of unapproved medications, including unapproved versions of the injectable cancer treatment, Avastin, from wholesale drug distributors operated by foreign suppliers outside US jurisdiction. Each letter sent explained that the foreign drug wholesaler the doctors did business with were the source of the counterfeit Avastin that had infiltrated US drug supplies.

The first warning letters were sent out February 10, 2012 to 19 doctors. In April, two sets of letters, one dated the 5 and the second dated the 23rd, were sent to an additional 59 doctors. On June 28th, 55 more doctors received warnings, bringing to current total to 134 doctors in 28 states. California leads the pack where 57 California doctors were warned by the FDA about counterfeit cancer drug purchases.

The current warnings about counterfeit versions of Avastin or Altuzan were issued on June 28th, 2012. The FDA letter states “The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has received information indicating that your medical practice purchased multiple medications from a foreign distributor named Clinical Care, Quality Specialty Products (QSP), Montana Healthcare Solutions, or Bridgewater Medical. Most, if not all, of the products sold and distributed by this distributor have not been approved by the FDA and may include counterfeit versions of Avastin or Altuzan.”

These most recent warnings were sent to doctors in Alaska, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, and West Virginia.

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US Counterfeit Drug Distributor Sentenced in Los Angeles

A Puerto Rican man who acted as a distributor for a counterfeit drug criminal gang was sentenced in Federal court this month. Originally facing 10 years, he has been sentenced to 2 years in prison for his role in a massive counterfeit drug ring operating in the United States

Francis Ortiz Gonzalez was convicted of conspiracy and seven counts of trafficking in counterfeit pharmaceuticals in August of 2012. According to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) news release on the occasion of his sentencing, “federal agents executed a search warrant at Ortiz Gonzalez’s residence in Trujillo Alto, a suburb of San Juan, Puerto Rico. Inside the home, investigators found more than 100,000 pills that resembled a variety of popular prescription medications.” Ortiz Gonzalez shipped more than 140,000 counterfeit pills from China to individuals throughout the United States, found the investigators.

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