The Cancer of Counterfeits

Today, the Wall Street Journal reported just what exactly the masterminds behind the counterfeit versions of Avastin, a medicine meant to treat cancer, put in this fake treatment. A quick glance at the ingredients would tell anyone that this is not a recipe for good health. In lieu of active ingredients used in usual biologics medicines, patients could have instead received injections of plastics softener, starch and chemicals found in animal feed.

This news has set off alarm bells across hospitals and clinics worldwide. While fraudulent prescriptions have traditionally deceived patients and sometimes pharmacists, counterfeit injectables are now duping doctors. Patients who believe they are receiving real, thoroughly-tested treatments are instead being administered deceptive, fake medicines that often exacerbate their illnesses.

Precious time that could be used to combat a cancer or a life-threatening disease is wasted because criminal counterfeiters want to line their pockets. Diseases, like malaria, are also allowed to grip populations thanks to counterfeit vaccinations.

It’s become increasingly clear that counterfeits pose a real public safety hazard. The development of a single life-saving treatment, on average, takes over a decade of research and development in addition to $1 billion in investment to make the safest, most effective remedies possible. Criminal counterfeiting enterprises circumvent public safety laws, offer no due-diligence and seek to profit at the expense of consumer health.

We cannot let counterfeits destroy our mission to curb cancer. The GIPC will continue to shine a spotlight on the risk that counterfeit products pose to consumers and to the innovators that are driving our economy.

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