As reported by CyprusMail Online, the Pharmaceutical Service of the Republic of Cyprus issued a warning to consumers about at least three counterfeit batches of a variant of Bevacizumab found in the northern part of the country. Sold under the trade name of Avastin in the southern part of Cyprus, this drug is marketed as Altuzan in the northern part of the country and Turkey. The counterfeit batches, confirmed by F. Hoffmann-La Roche, Ltd., to be batch numbers Β7213Β03, Β7211Β85, and Β7211Β91, reportedly contain no active ingredient.
Avastin/Altuzan is a chemotherapy drug, and this is the same counterfeit medicine that found its way into the U.S. in both 2012 and 2013. The National Medical Journal of India reports the results of a study done in India announced the discovery of two reliable ways to quickly test in a clinical setting whether or not vials of Bevacizumab were real or fake. A protein content analysis is the standard way to test this drug but requires a spectrophotometer. The study analyzed 16 vials of Bevacizumab from doctors’ offices in Dehli, New Dehli, Kolkata, and Hyderabad. Five tested as counterfeit by both Bradford protein and UV spectrophotometric analyses. Those same five samples also tested as counterfeit by simple frothing and alcohol precipitation tests that doctors can use in their offices to verify the legitimacy of a drug before administering it to their patients.
The Pharmaceutical Service of the Republic of Cyprus warned that additional batches of the counterfeit Altuzan may be out there and that no Cyprus or European authorities monitor products in the northern part of the country. They reminded the public of the serious health risks, including death, posed by counterfeit medicines, and urged the public to purchase medicines only from licensed pharmacies.