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FDA Warns Patients and Healthcare Practices about Counterfeit Avastin

Counterfeit Avastin

According to the FDA, a counterfeit version of Avastin 400mg/16mL, a cancer treatment injectable medication, is being distributed in the United States, and “may have been purchased and used by some medical practices in the United States.” The fake drug “is labeled as Avastin, manufactured by Roche”, but it does not contain the medicine’s active ingredient, and is ineffective according to Roche. The counterfeit Avastin has “batch numbers that start with B6010, B6011 or B86017” and part of its label is written in French.

While it isn’t clear of how large the counterfeit supply is, the FDA has sent notice letters to 19 medical practices across the United States who may have administered the counterfeit drug to its patients, which could lead to adverse health effects. This counterfeit incident is different than one we reported on in 2010, when the FDA warned consumers about Generic Tamiful sold by an online pharmacy. In this case the Internet does not appear to play a role, rather the counterfeit drugs seem to have directly infiltrated the U.S. drug supply.

Price comparisons for Avastin are not available on PharmacyChecker.com, as its price listing participants do not offer this product for sale. Avastin is most often administered by a healthcare professional in a clinical setting not by the patient.

The reporting and disposal recommendations to healthcare professionals and patients by the FDA is as follows:

Medical practices that have obtained products from Volunteer Distribution and Quality Specialty Products should stop using them and contact the FDA. These products should be retained and securely stored. To report suspect counterfeit products and other suspect products obtained from Volunteer Distribution or QSP/Montana Health Care Solutions:

· Call FDA’s Office of Criminal Investigations (OCI) at 800-551-3989,

· Visit OCI’s Web site (www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/email/oc/oci/contact.cfm), or

· Email – DrugSupplyChainIntegrity@fda.hhs.gov

Healthcare professionals and patients are encouraged to report adverse events related to the use of suspect injectable cancer medications to the FDA’s MedWatch Safety Information and Adverse Event Reporting Program:

· Complete and submit the report Online: www.fda.gov/MedWatch/report.htm

· Download form or call 1-800-332-1088 to request a reporting form, then complete and return to the address on the pre-addressed form, or submit by fax to 1-800-FDA-0178

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New Phone App to Help Americans Save at U.S. Pharmacies

A new and portable strategy for saving money on prescription drugs has just hit the market with the LowestMed app from LowestMed.com. Our research finds that the most substantial savings consumers can expect are for generic medications, but far less so when it comes to expensive brand named drugs.

To help American consumers “Find the lowest price… fast” at a local chain pharmacy, LowestMed has created a free smartphone application that uses the current location of your phone to find the nearest pharmacy with the lowest price on a prescription drug that you need. According to the Washington Post, “LowestMed also comes with a free discount card, which can further reduce the price of a medication by between 10 and 85 percent.”

Testing out this new savings strategy, we find that a 30-day supply of Lisinopril 10mg can cost anywhere from $10.00 (Target) to $36.63 (CVS) – the app not only helps you find the $26.63 savings – 73% but also to map the location for you.

 

While savings like those on Lisinopril are great, many consumers may need to turn to verified international pharmacies when shopping for big brand names. Thirty tablets of Plavix 75mg, for example, cost $197.64 at the cheapest bricks and mortar pharmacy on LowestMeds.com, $205.10 at the most expensive. Saving $7.46 per month is nice, but saving $153.10 is not only much better but necessary for some Americans who could simply cannot afford the U.S. price! Plavix costs just $52 for a month supply at the lowest priced international pharmacy in the PharmacyChecker.com Verification program – a savings of 74%!

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Medicare Enrollees Should Be Given a Chance to Switch Part D Plans, Say U.S. Pharmacists

American Medical News reported last week, “Pharmacists have called on the agency overseeing the Medicare program to allow patients to switch their prescription drug plans outside of the normal open enrollment season after beneficiaries say they were misled by insurers.” This would mean a second chance for patients who feel they were not given all the details of the plan they are now stuck with for a year.

A large proportion of ratings and reviews found on our site – MedicareDrugPlans.com – certainly demonstrate the frustration of Medicare enrollees who are not happy with their plans. We would support such a “second chance” to find a better plan. (more…)

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