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MHRA recalls counterfeit Casodex

The MHRA has issued a recall on a counterfeit batch of AstraZeneca's prostate cancer treatment Casodex tablets

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has issued a recall on a counterfeit batch of AstraZeneca's (AZ) prostate cancer treatment Casodex (bicalutamide) tablets 50mg with the lot number 65520. It is only a matter of days since the MHRA announced a Class 1 recall of French pharmaceutical company sanofi-aventis' anti-thrombosis drug, Plavix (clopidogrel), and signals an increased and sustained attempt by counterfeiters to target the UK drug market.

As with the Plavix alert, the counterfeit Casodex tablets were supplied in French livery through parallel importers. The evidence so far suggests that it has been distributed within the legitimate UK supply chain and may have already reached patients.

Pharmacists have been asked to recover the counterfeit tablets from patients, while the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain (RPSGB) has counselled them to check their stock for the counterfeit and to check on the society's website for guidance: http://www.rpsgb.org/pdfs/counterfeitmedsguid.pdf

The MHRA is also investigating a link between the Casodex counterfeits and the recent discovery of counterfeit Zyprexa (olanzapine), which made its way into the UK supply chain through parallel imports from France. Initial MHRA laboratory tests indicate that the counterfeit versions of Casodex contain approximately 75 per cent of the active ingredient, bicalutamide.

Dr Chris Hiley, Head of Policy and Research at The Prostate Cancer Charity, said of the Casodex recall: "We are aware that counterfeit Casodex is available from suppliers over the Internet but have not felt this has been a problem in the UK. This is because the NHS prescription system means that there is no need for men to seek out these suppliers to save money or to afford treatment in the first place."

7th June 2007

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