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Generic Drugs Often Made Abroad

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Q. I just filled a prescription for the sleeping pill zolpidem (generic Ambien) at a discount pharmacy. The literature with this prescription said my medication was manufactured in Amman, Jordan. What's with this?

A. Increasingly, generic drugs (and many brand names as well) are made abroad. Costs tend to be lower in places like China and India. They are among the biggest players in the global pharmaceutical manufacturing industry.

Other countries including Thailand, Brazil and Mexico are also suppliers of raw ingredients. We're not too surprised that Jordan would be making generic pharmaceuticals for the U.S. market.

Just because a drug is generic, though, doesn't mean it can't help you. Generic drugs offer significant savings, and if you use them wisely, you can get real benefit. We offer tips on what to look for in our book, Top Screwups Doctors Make and How to Avoid Them.

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6 Comments

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>The literature with this prescription said my medication was manufactured in Amman, Jordan. What's with this?

It's not clear why the OP is surprised. Our computer support, and for that matter, most software itself, comes out of other countries. Most of our clothing is made abroad. Cars and car parts are made elsewhere. You have to dig pretty hard to find products "100% made in America." Why would drugs be an exception?

When our drugs are manufactured in places other than US, is it US personnel that over see the quality or do foreign countries make that call? I am suspicious of using drugs that are manufactured in plants of countries that like to do harm to Americans. How do I check the origin of the drugs I take?

With little or no oversight from our FDA. For some time now I have been instructing my pharmacy not fill fill scrips using products manufactured in China or India.

I have been taking generic Biaxin for over 10 years. Along the way I learned that some had been manufactured in India, where further reading revealed that the US FDA does not have oversight or inspection authority. For me the issue is safety of the ingredients, cleanliness of the maker's plant and efficacy of the medication, which in some countries are unknown. My pharmacist cooperates by not issuing me drugs made in India or China. Now the task is to find out where the ingredients come from, since the same issues apply.

Wasn't the response made about imported generic drugs a bit lax? There have been articles about instances of imported generic medications and components being inconsistent, with sometimes too much or too little medication content, or poor quality. We've also been made aware of even imported food products that have been unsafe, particularly from some major trading partners with America. Should not some word of caution have been provided for patient safety?

Because here we have excessive quality control, quality assurace and paper work. I am in this business and I know that so much money and effort is wasted and eventually consumer has to pay for that.

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