Back in college, I learned some silly nonsense about the interrelation between supply and demand. Government types that never bothered to take Econ 101 always think that you can manipulate demand by regulating supply. The problem is that when you artificially move to reduce supply, such as through laws and regulations, then unscrupulous people will attempt to fill the deficit. And unscrupulous people aren't always going to manufacture the best quality products.
The discovery that a fake version of the widely used cancer medicine Avastin is circulating in the United States is raising new fears that the multibillion-dollar drug-counterfeiting trade is increasingly making inroads in the U.S.
The practice has largely been relegated to poor countries with lax regulations. But with more medicines and drug ingredients for sale in the U.S. being manufactured overseas, American authorities are afraid more counterfeits will find their way into this country, putting patients’ lives at risk.
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The FDA announced Tuesday it is investigating fake vials of Avastin that were sold to at least 19 doctors or clinics, including 16 sites in California, two in Texas and one in Chicago. Tests showed the vials did not contain the active ingredient in Avastin, which is given intravenously in hospitals, clinics and doctors’ offices to treat several types of cancer.
The contents of the vials are still being analyzed, and the FDA said it has not received any reports of patients who were harmed.
FDA officials said the counterfeit Avastin was imported from Britain and distributed by Volunteer Distribution, a wholesaler based in Gainesboro, Tenn. British regulators notified the FDA about the products in December, but the agency didn’t confirm they were fake until last week.