The FDA has been prosecuting doctors and unlicensed drug distributors for importing non-FDA approved cancer drugs. Some of those drugs have been counterfeits. Learn more about how to detect counterfeit medication by reading our 8-Step Checklist For Medicine Safety and about recent counterfeit cancer drug prosecutions by reading PSM’s Black Market Cancer Drug Cases, 2007-2013.

Black Market CancerThe FDA has been prosecuting doctors and unlicensed drug distributors for importing non-FDA approved cancer drugs. Some of those drugs have been counterfeits.

In 2011, the FDA found counterfeit cancer medication, Avastin, in the American drug supply. The lifesaving medication used to treat late stage cancer patients contained mold and water, but no active ingredient. The fake drug reached patients after a circuitous round-the-world journey that began in Turkey, moved through several different European Union pass-through distributors and was shipped to the United States. Since then, the FDA has prosecuted at least 17 doctors, pharmacists and distributors for importing non-FDA approved chemotherapy medicines. It has also has notified 145 medical practices in 29 states that they may have purchased a counterfeit cancer medications which were distributed by a fake online Canadian pharmacy.

The doctors who purchased these discounted drugs generated a profit for themselves by billing insurance, Medicare and patients at the same price they would for legitimate treatments. Their pursuit of profit over safety denies patients safe, reliable medication and counterfeit medication can mean a death sentence for them. However, patients who receive treatments in medical offices can take steps to protect themselves. They should ask their doctors to see their medication’s packaging, examine the product for accurate labeling, good condition of the package, and the language of the labeling. All prescriptions approved for sale in the US should have product descriptions in English.

Learn more about how to detect counterfeit medication by reading our 8-Step Checklist For Medicine Safety and about recent counterfeit cancer drug prosecutions by reading PSM’s Black Market Cancer Drug Cases, 2007-2013.

By S. Imber