Casey: FDA Needs to Step Up Immediately to Help PA Hospitals
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) called on the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to work with Pennsylvania hospitals and healthcare providers to ensure patients in the state are not receiving a counterfeit cancer drug that has flooded the U.S. market.
This week it was revealed that the cancer drug Avastin has been counterfeited and distributed throughout the U.S. The drug’s counterfeit version is missing an active ingredient that helps patients fight the disease. Currently the FDA does not know how far the drug, which is used to treat cancers of the colon, lung, kidney and brain, has been distributed.
“The idea that a counterfeit cancer drug could enter the U.S. market is shocking and unacceptable,” Senator Casey said. “The FDA needs to step up right away and work with Pennsylvania’s hospitals and healthcare providers to ensure that sick patients aren’t taking this counterfeit drug. Furthermore, the FDA, the pharmaceutical industry, drug distributors, and other stakeholders need to work with Congress to pass legislation to create a nationwide tracking system so this never happens again.”
Pennsylvania’s hospitals and healthcare providers treat millions of patients every year- many of them for cancer. The possibility that these patients could be receiving a counterfeit drug is a call to action for the FDA to step up and help Pennsylvanians deal with this outbreak.
Patients taking Avastin who have questions about the safety of their drug should contact their health providers. Providers can find more information about how to identify counterfeit Avastin on the FDA’s Website by clicking here.
The full text of Senator Casey’s letter to the FDA is below.
Dr. Margaret Hamburg
Food and Drug Administration
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Dear Commissioner Hamburg:
I am deeply concerned by recent reports that counterfeit Avastin has been found in the United States, and I urge you to act swiftly to locate and seize all counterfeit vials of Avastin. I write today to ask you to work closely with Pennsylvania hospitals, cancer centers and physicians to ensure that none of the counterfeit vials of Avastin are being given to patients.
As you know, Avastin is used to treat cancers of the colon, lung, kidney and brain. Patients with these cancers depend on Avastin for life-saving treatment, and will suffer if they are accidentally treated with a counterfeit product devoid of the active ingredient in Avastin.
I encourage you to provide continuous updates to health care providers in Pennsylvania and across the Nation, to restore confidence in our Nation’s drug supply and ensure that the providers have the information they need to check their supplies of Avastin and confirm their legitimacy.
Robert P. Casey, Jr.
United States Senator