Doctors and pharmacists often portray generic drugs as a great deal. They say that you’re getting the same medicine as the brand-name products, but far cheaper.
The FDA is on board, too.
Even though almost all generic drugs are made in India and China, the agency says it holds foreign plants to the same standards as U.S. drug makers.
Katherine Eban says that’s simply not true.
She is an investigative journalist and author of the new book Bottle of Lies. It meticulously documents how Asian drug factories routinely produce tainted or diluted medications and then cover it up.
The FDA often lets foreign manufacturers know about inspections weeks in advance. That gives the companies plenty of time to fudge their records.
Eban says she has caught overseas manufacturers altering and shredding documents. In some instances they produce fake records “steaming them overnight to make them look old.”
“They literally have data fabrication teams that come in, in advance of these inspections, shred documents, fabricate documents, invent quality data…all in advance of the FDA’s arrival,” she said.
She has even found cases in which FDA inspectors were deliberately sickened with tainted tap water so they would be unable to visit drug factories. Some have had their hotel rooms bugged.
The result can be medications that are ineffective or unsafe being sent to American patients.
Eban notes a scandal involving the generic version of the drug heparin that was made in China. Scores of kidney patients across the U.S. died because the medication was contaminated.
Someone at the Chinese factory had intentionally added a chemical to stretch the drug’s yield and profitability. Tragically, it also made the medication lethal.
Eban’s book backs up previous research that found generics can be dangerous or less effective. One study was published in the journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes. It examined patients who took generic versions of three different blood pressure medications. The patients had increased side effects compared to people taking the brand-name versions.
If you take a generic drug, Eban suggests you research who makes it. Go online and search for any issues that may have been found by regulators.
Natural Alternatives to Generic Drugs
If you must use medications, use brand name products whenever possible.
Of course, it’s better if you don’t have to use any type of prescription drugs. Nutritional supplements typically have no side effects, or far fewer, than medications. And they can be just as effective.
Health Watch will continue to bring you the best research-backed natural alternatives to pharmaceuticals.
It’s important that you take charge of your health…and not leave your wellness in the hands of drug factories in China and India.
Editor’s Note: Big Pharma wants you to believe that drugs are the answer to everything. But they often do more harm than good. Get the details in our publication, The Top 10 Dangerous Pharmaceutical Drugs—And Their Natural Alternatives. It’s an important read for you and your family.