In February 2012, vials of fake Avastin (bevacizumab) were distributed in the United States. Avastin is a critical drug for metastatic colorectal cancer patients. The fake vials did not include bevacizumab at all – which could have put patients at great risk.
Congress is currently considering legislation that would address the security of the US pharmaceutical distribution system. Fight Colorectal Cancer has urged Congress to support a strong national distribution standard that includes:
- Placing serial numbers on each package, or unit, of medicine;
- Implementing a system that tracks medicine at this unit level as they move from the manufacturers to the patient; and
- Phased-in regulations to ensure that pharmacies and clinics are using the new “track and trace” system to protect patients.
Disclosure: Fight Colorectal Cancer has accepted funding for projects and educational programs from Genentech, maker of Avastin, in the form of unrestricted educational grants. Fight Colorectal Cancer has ultimate authority over website content.