Thursday, September 18, 2008

Generic prescription drug dangers

If you ever choose the generic version of drugs for your family, you need to read this story. It is concerning:

ABC: The Federal Government took the unusual step of blocking some widely-used generic drugs from coming into the country as it raised serious questions about how the drugs were made and what is in them. More than 30 drugs manufactured in India by Ranbaxy Laboratories are being blocked.

The list includes popular cholesterol medicines and antibiotics. The serious manufacturing problems found at two of the company's plants -- include cross contamination of medicines, poor sterilization, and incomplete production records. They potentially involved Ranbaxy's generic versions of cholesterol lowering drugs Zocor, Vytorin and Pravachol, antibiotic Cipro, acne drug Accutane, antacid Zantac, and allergy medicines Alavert and Children's Claritin - as well as dozens of others drugs.

Dr. Douglas Throckmorton/FDA: "We in the FDA need to assure those quality issues are addressed before we let another drug from those factories come into the United States." The FDA's has known about problems at the plants for some three years.

Rep. Bart Stupak/(D)- Michigan: "FDA's action is certainly warranted, but way too late. Where were they? Once again, asleep at the switch."

The FDA insisted that consumers who already have the Ranbaxy version of these drugs should not worry - that despite serious manufacturing issues- sampling has turned up no problem with the medications themselves." That does not reassure those who've been pushing the FDA to take action against this company.

Rep. Bart Stupak/(D)- Michigan "If I am an American consumer and my drug's made by Ranbaxy, I'm throwing it out." This is not the first time the safety of drugs made overseas has been called into question. Earlier this year, tainted Heparin from China was blamed for more than a dozen deaths. At that time, the FDA promised to boost overseas inspections and enforcement.

Dr. Peter Lurie/Public Citizen: "This is a major international problem, and we are only beginning to wrestle with it." So for the second time this year the FDA is grappling with the problem of foreign made drugs.. it's one they increasingly have to worry about -- with more and more US drugs now coming from overseas.

I do choose the generic version when it's available. My pharmacist always says it's the same thing for less cost. I never realized what the danger could be. How about you? Do you choose generic medicine for your family?

-NewsAnchorMom Jen

Methodist Medical Center's new online healthcare program, MyMethodist eHealth, is a proud sponsor of this blog post. MyMethodist eHealth is the secure link to your doctor's office that lets you request appointments, order prescription refills, update your personal health record, and more. Sign up for MyMethodist eHealth here.


SallyN said...

Interesting. In Massachusetts, the pharmacies are required to provide generic unless the brand name version is specified on the prescription, or requested by customer.

Maria said...

We always go generic. Hmm... I'll have to think a bit before I make up my mind now.

Anonymous said...

This article is misleading in that it implies that only generic drugs are made overseas. Most drugs in the US, whether brand or generic, are made overseas. The drugs which are made in the US, almost invariably contain ingredients from China or other countries.

Brand name Pravachol is manufactured in Japan, brand name Cipro is manufactured in Germany, Brand name Zocor is manufactured in the United Kingdom, Brand name Vytorin is manufactured in Singapore, Italy & the United Kingdom.

Pretty much all vitamins are made in China (or at least contain ingredients from China.)

For better or worse, we live in a global economy, and that isn't going to change anytime soon.

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