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Dangerous drugs: Issues with Indian-made pharmaceuticals

Considering recent sanctions brought against foreign drug makers, many are beginning to question whether certain generic drugs are worth saving. However, trying to avoid dangerous drugs by only buying drugs made in the United States may be impossible in the age of globalization. Indeed, a massive percentage of the drugs people in the United States and New York take on a daily basis are sourced from overseas.

For example, approximately 40 percent of drugs taken by Americans in New York and the rest of the country were manufactured in foreign countries. Further, 80 percent of the raw materials found in drugs taken in the United States were also made in foreign countries. Considering this, it is next to impossible for anyone to be able to know for sure if their drugs were 100 percent made in America.

One country in particular has been the focus of the FDA's concern recently, and that country is India. For example, the Canadian drug company, Apotex, which manufactures much of its medication in India, has been banned from being sold in the United States. Other India-based drug makers who have been sanctioned recently include Sun Pharmaceutical, Ranbaxy and Wockhardt, to name a few. Because it has become so popular for manufacturers to outsource to cheaper labor markets in India, China and other countries, the FDA has found it harder to ensure that those overseas facilities meet the same safety standards it applies to drug companies in the United States. To curb this issue, in 2012, Congress introduced and passed a law requiring the FDA to apply the same level of stringency to foreign drug makers as it does to those found in the United States.

Although the FDA is increasing its efforts in this regard, dangerous drugs will still likely slip through the cracks. Any New York resident who is injured by problematic medications can hold the manufacturer accountable and financially liable for those injuries. In some cases, injured victims can pursue civil claims for damages relating to their permanent disability. In other cases, victims can seek money to pay for their continued medical care and rehabilitation services required.

Source: Consumer Reports, "Are Generic Drugs Made in India Safe", Teresa Carr, April 25, 2014