FDA Warns of Counterfeit Version of AIDS Drug Serostim
A counterfeit version of Serostim, a prescription injected medicine that helps fight wasting syndrome in AIDS patients, has appeared in seven states and could cause "dangerous" side effects in "unsuspecting users," according to the FDA and the drug's manufacturer, Massachusetts-based Serono Inc. The AP/Baltimore Sun reports that the FDA has begun a criminal investigation to track down the counterfeit drug's manufacturer and distributor. Serono "alerted" pharmacies and AIDS organizations to the counterfeit drugs last month. The composition of the fake drug is unknown, and reported side effects include skin irritation and redness on the area of the skin where the drug is injected. In addition, AIDS patients risk getting worse if they go without their real Serostim prescription. Counterfeit batches, which patients have received through pharmacies, have been reported in California, Kentucky, Michigan, New Jersey, Florida and Missouri. Patients should look for the fake drug's lot number MNK612A, which is also a real lot number for authentic Serostim. Patients can distinguish the fake version by its expiration date, 08/02. The real Serostim has an expiration date of 08/01. About 6,000 AIDS patients use Serostim (AP/Baltimore Sun, 1/23).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.