UK man jailed for role in fake Avastin case

Altuzan pack shotUK citizen Richard Taylor has been sentenced to 18 months in prison after admitting to illegally selling US doctors a fake version of Roche's cancer drug Avastin.

Taylor was also fined $800,000 for his role in the scam and ordered to forfeit his interest in approximately $3.2m in illegal proceeds, some of which was seized during the investigation at a bank in the UK.

The counterfeit Avastin (bevacizumab) product, which bore the Turkish brand name Altuzan, was discovered in the US medicines supply chain last year and upon analysis was revealed to have no active ingredient. It also caused side effects in patients, with some reporting severe reactions during infusions that meant that treatment had to be discontinued.

"While distributing these prescription drugs, Taylor learned that multiple doctors in the US had received shipments of "cold chain" cancer prescription drugs that were warm upon arrival and damaged during shipment, but still kept shipping adulterated drugs," said the DoJ in a statement.

It was disclosed yesterday by the US Department of Justice (DoJ) that Taylor was also involved in illegal shipments of Roche's Rituxan (rituximab), used to treat non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and rheumatoid arthritis.

"This sentence aptly reflects the serious nature of this crime," said Patrick Holland, special agent in charge of the US Food and Drug Administration's Office of Criminal Investigations (OCI) in Kansas City.

"The FDA will aggressively pursue all those who seek to profit from causing the importation and distribution of foreign drugs that are adulterated and misbranded."

Taylor operated a distribution company known as Richard's Pharma, which was also linked to another case in which counterfeits from Turkey, this time labelled as Avastin, were found in the US last year.

In this instance some of the counterfeit product was passed by Richard's Pharma on to River East Supplies - a UK firm owned by online pharmacy Canada Drugs - and another firm called Volunteer Distribution that has business links with a Canada Drugs subsidiary.

A US pharmaceutical salesman affiliated with Canada Drugs - Montana-based Paul Bottomley - pleaded guilty to covering up the illegal distribution of the counterfeit Avastin earlier this year and is due to be sentenced on July 31.

     Want our news sent directly to your inbox?

Yes please 2


Home  |  About us  |  Contact us  |  Advertise  |  Links  |  Partners  |  Privacy Policy  |   |  RSS feed   |  back to top