Last month, there was a huge scare in the medical industry when 19 hospitals and medical centers across the country were found to be using a counterfeit version of Avastin that didn't include the active ingredient used to treat some forms of cancer.
We covered that story and U.S. Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Margaret Hamburg's reaction in an interview with CNN. Just this week, John Castellani, president and CEO of Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, spoke out about the incident in a blog called The Hill, a venue for lawmakers to share their insights with the public.
Just as Hamburg indicated in her responses with CNN, Castellani said that the case of the counterfeit Avastin should be a big wake-up call to the pharmaceutical industry. He wrote that there needs to be continued focus on creating policies that safeguard the American medical supply chain from being compromised with counterfeit drugs. This is especially important, considering that as much as 30 percent of all medicines in developing countries are counterfeit, he said.
"While Americans, for the most part, have been protected from counterfeit medicines because of legislation passed by Congress to strengthen our drug supply, we believe specific measures must be considered to fortify our borders, create uniform track and trace standards and crack down on criminal activity related to counterfeit medicine crimes," Castellani writes.
The pharmaceutical industry leader explained that combating counterfeit labeling and medicines should be a primary concern for the American government if for no reason other than ensuring the comfort of those who need prescription drugs. Castellani said that no American citizen should ever have to doubt that their medication is authentic when they go to their local pharmacy.