Second Turkish man sentenced in fake Avastin case

Altuzan pack shotA second Turkish national has been sentenced for smuggling a counterfeit version of Roche's cancer drug Avastin into the US.

Sabahhadin Akman, an owner of the Turkish import company Ozay Pharmaceuticals, has been sentenced to 30 months in jail and fined $150,000 for his part in the scam. His business partner - Ozkan Semizoglu - was sentenced to 27 months last year.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said in a statement that Akman had been found guilty of smuggling counterfeit, misbranded and adulterated cancer treatment drugs into the US, including multiple shipments of Altuzan, the Turkish version of Avastin (bevacizumab).

Akman admitted in his plea agreement to selling Altuzan to Richard Taylor, a drug wholesaler in the UK who was sentenced to 18 months in prison in 2013.

In 2012, agents from the FDA's Office of Criminal Investigations (OCI) seized Altuzan from various US physicians and customers of Taylor. OCI ultimately determined that some of the Altuzan being sold by Taylor and Akman was counterfeit, with no active drug ingredient in the drug vials.

"The serious public health impact of counterfeit cancer medications in the supply chain compelled the FDA to mobilize resources throughout the country to track down the US wholesalers and medical practices that had purchased this illegal product," said Philip Walsky, acting director of the OCI.

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