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Dr. Tim Mackey Presents GIS Research on Counterfeit Cancer Medication at Interchange 2014

Dr. Tim Mackey shared his American Cancer Society funded research with attendees at Interchange 2014. Titled After Avastin, What Have We Learned and What Can Be Done? Mackey’s research took a multidisciplinary approach to examining the data, using FDA warnings plus GIS and network analysis to try to draw conclusions as to what can be done to prevent another counterfeit Avastin-type incident in the United States.

Mackey PSM 2014

During a research presentation at SAFEMEDICINES Interchange 2014 in Washington D.C. Tim Mackey, Assistant Professor, University of California, San Diego’s Department of Anesthesiology, addressed the effect counterfeit Avastin has had on efforts to protect the American public from fake medications.

Dr. Tim Mackey shared his American Cancer Society funded research with attendees at Interchange 2014. Titled After Avastin, What Have We Learned and What Can Be Done? Mackey’s research took a multidisciplinary approach to examining the data, using FDA warnings plus GIS and network analysis to try to draw conclusions as to what can be done to prevent another counterfeit Avastin-type incident in the United States.

Dr. Mackey’s primary research findings were as follows:

  • FDA Warning Notices: 932 FDA notices in 791 distinct zip codes from 2012-2013. Included 48 different states and 2 U.S. territories.
  • Highest Impacted States: California (17.7% Total number=168), Texas (9.2% Total number=87), Florida (8.% Total number=81), and New York (8.2% Total number=78).
  • Legal Prosecutions: 10 published closed or ongoing prosecutions identified (i.e. criminal complaints/indictments, plea agreements, sentencing, civil settlements).

Dr. Mackey said that documenting counterfeit cancer medication cases is a challenge because faking cancer drugs is “the perfect crime.” As he put it, “You can buy and administer fake cancer medications to unsuspecting patients who already have a high mortality rate anyway. So then, maybe they pass away, and [their deaths] may go undetected because of a lack of robust surveillance.”

To learn more about Dr. Mackey’s research, watch his 2014 Interchange presentation here. To see the graphics Dr. Mackey shared, take a look at his slide presentation here.

By S. Imber

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