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Posted by on Apr 5, 2012 in FDA, Legal, Oncology, Pharma

WSJ Traces “Murky Path” of Fake Avastin

WSJ Traces “Murky Path” of Fake Avastin

And at least one questionable wholesaler, Thomas Houghton through his UK-based River East Supplies, appears to be involved in both the February and most recent transactions.

The WSJ traces the route of fake Avastin that cropped up in the United States in February:

  1. Swiss drug wholesaler Hadicon AG ordered Avastin from an Egyptian company, Sawathe legitimacy of which is questionable.
  2. An intermediary working for Sawa contacted a Syrian businessman, who located (the fake) Avastin in Istanbul, Turkey, from which the drug was shipped (through yet-another murky intermediary) to Hadicon.
  3. Hadicon then shipped the drug to a Danish wholesaler, CareMed Aps in Copenhagen, which passed it onto River East Supplies in Nottingham, England.
  4. River East Supplies then exported the drug to the United States through Montana Healthcare Solutions in Belgrade, Montana (which Houghton may have also owned). The fake Avastin was distributed to several oncologic practices (most of which are located in California or Texas) through Volunteer Distribution in Gainesboro, Tennessee.

In the latest case of fake Avastin (or really fake Altuzan) in the United States, the drug was imported again from Turkey (but this time from an unnamed or unknown source) to UK-based Richard’s Pharma,* a licensed wholesaler. Richard’s Pharma bought 120 packs of the counterfeit drug and exported 28 of these directly into America. The remaining 82 packs were sold to River East Supplies, which also exported the fake drug into the United States.

Not surprisingly wholesalers involved in both cases claim that they didn’t know the peddled Avastin/Altuzan was fake. No matter: The FDA says that the importation of non-approved drugs into the United States is illegal.

* AKA Richards Pharma, Richards Services, Warwick Healthcare Solutions, or Ban Dune Marketing, Inc, according to the FDA.

bmartin (1082 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.