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Counterfeit Drug Circulates in American Pharmacies

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Counterfeit Drug Circulates in American Pharmacies

A counterfeit version of bevacizumab, which doesn't contain the key active ingredient, is making rounds in American pharmacies, MedScape reports.

The U.S. Food & Drug Administration recently issued a warning about the product, a knock-off of Roche's Avastin, noting the only way to tell the difference is by carefully inspecting the product label. Products with batch numbers including B6010, B6011 and B86017 may be counterfeit, the FDA announced. Roche has reasserted the product is not a defective drug produced by the company.

"The counterfeit product is not safe or effective and should not be used," Roche and Genentech said in a statement. "We are working with the FDA and law enforcement to aid their evaluations, determine the source of the counterfeit drug, and prevent further distribution."

There is no Roche logo on the packaging, which can help pharmacists further separate counterfeit products. Nineteen suppliers have discovered the knock-off drug so far.

Labels can help brands not only differentiate themselves from competitors but from knock-offs as well. This is one reason luxury goods make complex, hard-to-replicate labels.