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The trade in phony products is a growing problem and now amounts to as much as $461 billion, or more than the combined GDP of the Czech Republic and Ireland, according to a new report from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development. When the OECD last looked at the counterfeit trade industry in 2008, the Paris-based think tank pegged its size at $200 billion.
The industry isn't only growing, but it's striking in a bewildering number of sectors, ranging from the pharmaceutical industry to toy manufacturers. Those fakes are frequently low quality and can lead to health and safety issues for consumers, the OECD warned. Countries and brands are also hurt due to the loss of taxes and sales.
What about fake drugs
FDA lab tests have confirmed that at least one batch of a counterfeit version of Roche’s Altuzan distributed in the United States contains no active ingredient.
Even if the identified product were not counterfeit, Altuzan (bevacizumab), an injectable cancer medicine, is not approved by FDA for sale in the United States. The only FDA-approved version of bevacizumab for sale in the United States is called Avastin, marketed by Genentech.
Medical practices that have obtained any medical products from Medical Device King, Pharmalogical, and Taranis Medical (another company associated with Pharmalogical) should stop using the products due to concern that the products may be unsafe or not effective. Health care professionals should contact FDA’s Office of Criminal Investigations (OCI) to arrange for the collection of these products.
Medical practices that purchase and administer unapproved medicines are putting patients at risk of exposure to medicines that may be counterfeit, contaminated, or improperly stored and transported. For most of these medicines, there are FDA-approved versions readily available in the United States. FDA cannot ensure the safety and efficacy of any product that has not undergone the rigorous scientific review that is part of FDA’s approval process. To protect patient health, health care professionals should use only FDA-approved medicines.