A note about Pharmaceuticals:
Yes, I’m so Asperger that I had to Find out why my Medication was defective
Over the past two years or so, I have encountered “bad” lithium tablets; these seem to appear within batches (prescription refills) and have a deficient amount of active ingredients. In case you think I’m imagining this, my lithium level dropped below therapeutic several times. This is a very painful and dangerous situation. (I won’t go into specifics here) Since I buy generics to save money, I decided to look into just what are the regulations for imported pharmaceuticals. Shock. There really are no adequate controls:
U.S. inspectors must NOTIFY the foreign manufacture at least a month ahead that they are coming, and they DO NOT inspect for the quality of ingredients or manufacturing. They note things like, Is the factory clean? It’s like a food inspector showing up to inspect a chicken factory and saying, “What a nice clean office you have. Love the drapes!”
And like food production, any number of non-food ingredients can LEGALLY be added as filler – The FDA works for corporations, (and their overseas suppliers in India and China – known to make unsafe products) – not for you and me.
From Scientific American: According to the FDA, the rules that it has set to regulate generic drugs are just as tough as for brand-name meds. But keep in mind that the federal agency was originally formed as a domestic watchdog—overseas expansion and the proliferation of pharmaceutical manufacturers have challenged their infrastructure. The New York Times reported that in 2007, out of 500 Chinese facilities the FDA only got around to checking 13.
Worse than that, American pharmaceutical manufacturers aren’t much better – components are acquired from overseas and are only as safe as guesswork can predict. I talked directly to a couple of American companies who confirmed that there is no guarantee that active ingredients will be CONSISTENT from pill to pill in the same batch, nor batch to batch and between manufacturers. They are happy to tell you this, because it’s standard in the industry, and “normal” to their products. They seem to think everyone, including medical personnel and the public, know that this is the “reality” of drug manufacturing.
From Scientific American: But to be fair, much of the concern is rooted in some scary generic drug scandals, in which toxic substances made it into a medication that was produced overseas, such as occurred with heparin in 2008. Today, more than 40 percent of the active ingredients in generic and over-the-counter pharmaceuticals are produced in India and China—and that number is only expected to increase:
It also was revealed that just because a drug is labeled “time released” it’s not what you may think – that the active ingredient is dribbled into you body in minute equal and stable amounts. Time release may mean that release is delayed by a coating that dissolves after a few minutes, and then, the contents is “dumped.” So, the next time your medication doesn’t “work” or makes you sick, you may not be imagining that something is different.
I also tested pharmacists: most said that foreign “generic” medications are under strict control and “just as good” as American-produced drugs. They knew nothing of the truth, which is available at the FDA website. One was quite honest (totally fed up with system) saying: I wanted to be a pharmacist to make sure my customers are getting what they need. But a giant corporation bought out our small chain, changed the name, and now accountants in the home office DECIDE which drugs and which brands our customers can get. I’m just a dummy standing behind the counter.
Again we see the “abandonment” of the poor, working poor, elderly and even much of the middle class to the danger of unsafe medications, while those at the top of the social hierarchy can afford “name brand” products, plus teams of lawyers to sue corporations, should any negative consequences occur.