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Posted by on Feb 28, 2012 in Ethics, FDA, Oncology, Pharma

US Distributor for Fake Avastin: A Decked-Out, Trellised Hovel in Tennessee? Um No, Google Maps

US Distributor for Fake Avastin: A Decked-Out, Trellised Hovel in Tennessee? Um No, Google Maps

The most recent lots of counterfeit Avastin (Roche), which found their way to various oncology clinics in the United States (most of which are in California), originated in Egypt and were essentially a slurry of inactive ingredients, reports Fox News. The fake vials of the purported anticancer drug contained a hodgepodge of salt, starch, citrate, isopropyl alcohol, “propandiol” (probably propylene glycol), t-butanol, benzoic acid, difluroinated benzene, acetone, and phthalatebut no bevacizumab, the monoclonal antibody and active ingredient in Avastin that is intended to suppress angiogenesis and tumor growth.

The counterfeit vials were reportedly processed through legitimate distributors in Switzerland, Denmark, and Britain before entering the United States, where the fake drug was sold to 19 oncology clinics or physicians by Quality Specialty Products (aka Montana Health Care Solutions). A company with the terribly generic name of Volunteer Distribution,* located in Gainesboro, Tennessee distributed QSP’s products, according to the FDA.

A web search reveals an address for Volunteer Distribution in Gainesboro: 101 W. Gore Ave. Google Maps provides this lovely screenshot for the Tennessee address, although the location is identified on the annotated street view as “Anderson & Haile Drug Co Phrm.” A web search also reveals the listed phone number for Volunteer Distribution as 931-268-4506; that for Anderson & Haile is 931-268-0233.** Important update: Further searching of Google Maps and its
street-view feature shows that Anderson & Haile is actually located
in a commercial property at the corner of W. Gore Ave. and S. Union St.
in Gainesboro, Tennessee.

Fake Avastin (or Lucentis) on the market is evidently an ongoing problem for Roche (and susceptible patients). Shanghai was the source for a bogus version in 2010, and Syria in 2009, says Fierce Pharma.

What vials of Avastin should contain are bevacizumab (the active ingredient), along with trehalose dihydrate, sodium phosphate (both monobasic monohydrate and dibasic), polysorbate 20, and water.

* I suppose that “Volunteer” must refer to Tennessee.

** And another web search provides these listed contacts for Anderson & Haile at 101 W. Gore Ave: Teneal Jenkins and Christie Banker. Yet another web search
shows that Teneal Jenkins is “doing business as” Anderson and Haile
Drug Company, a pharmacy and supplier of medical equipment and supplies.
And yet another web search
shows that Teneal Jenkins has a PharmD. A license lookup at the
Tennessee Department of Health shows that Teneal Chaffin Jenkins of 101
W. Gore Ave in Gainesboro, Tennessee (Anderson and Haile Drug Co.)
graduated with a PharmD in 2004 from the University of Tennessee
(Memphis) and has sustained no disciplinary or significant liability

And a clarification: I have no idea if Anderson & Haile Drug Company, located at 101 W. Gore Ave., in Gainesboro, TN, or pharmacist Teneal Jenkins and Volunteer Distribution, located at the same commercial building, have (or had) any connection whatsoever. Although it would be an unfortunate coincidence for Anderson & Haile and pharmacist Jenkins if they did not. FWIW, street images of the area, courtesy of Google Maps, show unreadable hanging shingles and ascending stairs to an entrance at the back of the building.

bmartin (1127 Posts)

A native East Tennessean, Barbara Martin is a formerly practicing, board-certified neurologist who received her BS (psychology, summa cum laude) and MD from Duke University before completing her postgraduate training (internship, residency, fellowship) at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. She has worked in academia, private practice, medical publishing, drug market research, and continuing medical education (CME). For the last 3 years, she has worked in a freelance capacity as a medical writer, analyst, and consultant. Follow Dr. Barbara Martin on and Twitter.