If I asked you whether your prescription medication was manufactured in the United States and carefully monitored by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or abroad in an unknown facility with little-to- no oversight; how would you respond? Most people do not know that many of the prescription drugs they take are actually manufactured outside of the United States.
According to Dr. Margaret Hamburg, Commissioner of the FDA, "Eighty percent of the active pharmaceutical ingredients in drugs taken here are actually manufactured in other countries and about 40 percent of the finished drugs are coming from other countries." These countries include both China and India.
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Although the FDA does have the power to inspect foreign manufacturing plants, and has in fact been doing so; in many cases the agency does not have the resources necessary to effectively monitor production. Without regular inspections, the safety of prescription medication cannot be certain.
According to Gardiner Harris, a reporter for The New York Times, "There is the safety issue which how safe are these drugs considering that we haven't been there. Some of these suppliers in China, frankly Dr. Hamburg's people have not gone into in 10 to 15 years." In China, the FDA has been refused appropriate visas to enter the country.
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The effects of poor oversight do "rear their head" in patients' daily life and increase the direct risk of side effects. For instance, a few years ago the blood thinner Heparin which is a staple in the Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) community was contaminated. Eighty (80) people died and hundreds of others suffered adverse reactions to the drug. Allen Coukell of the Pew Charitable Trust noted that it was only later found that a drug supplier purposely substituted something that was not the correct active ingredient, but tested like the correct active ingredient, to cut costs.
CKD and Diabetic patients can best buffer against adverse side effects by immediately talking to their Nephrologists or General Care Physicians as soon as they begin noticing abnormal reactions to prescribed medication. Although you should not stop taking the medication until you meet with your doctor be sure never to consume any meds that are not properly labeled.
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Deborah Leader, RN. "10 Medication Safety Tips." Http://copd.about.com/. About.com COPD.
"This Is Scary--About Prescription Drugs Sold in the U.S." This Is Scary--About Prescription Drugs Sold in the U.S. Kos Media, LLC.