When it comes to purchasing medicines from certain Indian generics companies, buyer beware. As my colleague Dinesh Thakur and I lay out in a new op-ed in the International Business Times, Americans are ingesting a large—$4.2 billion last year—and increasing volume of generic medicines imported from India. But the government of India has proven complacent at ensuring the quality of those medicines, including commissioning but then ignoring reports on the regulatory failings of the country’s pharmaceutical industry.
Earlier this year, one of India’s largest pharmaceutical companies, Ranbaxy, pleaded guilty to seven criminal charges, including falsifying clinical data and distributing adulterated medicines to the United States. As an editorial last week in the leading Indian newspaper The Hindu stated, “Until a deeper, institutional change takes place to break the nexus between drug companies and India’s regulatory regime—a change that incorporates everything from surprise checks on manufacturing facilities to greater transparency in, and policing of, drug approvals processes and clinical trials—there is a strong likelihood that Indian consumers of drugs made by these companies have poison coursing through their veins.”
Read the full op-ed here.
The Wall Street Journal released details this week of an investigation into large quantities of stolen—aka “diverted”—malaria medicines that the US government had donated to African countries through the President’s Malaria Initiative.
According to the article, the President’s Malaria Initiative has had a huge hand in reducing Africa’s malaria rate by a third between 2000 and 2010.
Our third SearchingForSafety Working Paper is published today, analyzing surveys of attitudes on medicine quality among pharmacists and their customers in Delhi. Initially conducted in 2008, we repeated a set of surveys this year and found some interesting differences.