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Indian Generic Drug Firm Ranbaxy Is in Big Trouble Again! Why You Should Care

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The FDA has just banned the importation of pharmaceutical ingredients from the largest drug company in India, but it is not the first time. Four of Ranbaxy's five manufacturing facilities once made drugs or active ingredients for the US market. (The fifth plant manufactures drugs for other markets.) When the FDA uncovered forgery, fraud and a failure of good manufacturing processes, it censured three of those plants. Now the remaining Ranbaxy facility with US-oriented manufacturing is no longer permitted to send products to the US until corrective steps are complete.

An FDA spokeswoman said, "We are taking swift action to prevent substandard quality products from reaching U.S. consumers." An inspection had found that quality control data had been fudged. Tests were repeated until the desired results were obtained and nonconforming data was apparently discarded.

FDA inspectors noted the laboratory was in "significant disrepair." Windows could not be closed and flies were "too numerous to count." A refrigerator used to store samples was full of water from melting ice that was dripping on the floor.

Ranbaxy has been in trouble with the FDA since 2008. Last spring the manufacturer pleaded guilty to felony charges involving adulterated drugs and paid the largest generic drug safety settlement in history, $500 million in fines and civil claims.

What Does This Mean?

For more than a decade, readers of our newspaper column have been complaining about lapses in generic drug quality. At first we thought these were rare instances, but as more reports arrived we started investigating the FDA's oversight of generics. What we discovered was that the agency seemed more focused on approving generic drugs than inspecting foreign plants.

Ranbaxy was on our radarscope long before the latest debacle. Here are just a few of the messages we received:

"The Ranbaxy generic for Diflucan [fluconazole] from India did not work for me." T.T., June 21, 2007


"Generic brands have differences between them too! I was stable on fluoxetine from one company. Then out of the blue the pharmacy changed my fluoxetine to "RANBAXY" brand FLUOXETINE for about 6 months.

"I fell into a deep depression and felt suicidal and had no idea why. My psychiatrist discharged me from her care, saying that she couldn't help me.

"For some unknown reason my pharmacy switched me back to my previous brand of fluoxetine. In a few days I felt better. Then it all clicked. I could have committed suicide, and it would have been due to the fact that PHARMACEUTICALS NEED TO BE BETTER REGULATED." S.T., April 13, 2008


"I have been on Tenormin [atenolol] for 28 years. Within this time I have used generics, and they are not all the same. I reacted adversely to the Rugby brand with pounding temples and heartbeat.

"I recently was switched to Ranbaxy without being told. My heart was beating too hard, and my blood pressure was wacky, as though one pill worked and one did not. I called my pharmacist and got one day of true Tenormin until he could get the Sandoz atenolol I had been taking. Now that I am now back on it, I feel normal. I wrote Ranbaxy a note to let them know that I do not think they have the correct formulation." Cheri, May 8, 2008


"CVS recently substituted a generic acyclovir by RANBAXY. It is useless." D.L.E., May 9, 2008


"I have been on Minocin antibiotic therapy for rheumatoid arthritis for five years now, and am 90 percent better. At one time I was switched to the Ranbaxy generic. I got worse so we went back to the brand name." Rose, August 4, 2008


"My atenolol blood pressure prescription was refilled and it didn't work. I've been on it for 20 years with no problems.

"The new one is manufactured by Ranbaxy and my old bottle was Sandoz. I asked the pharmacy to switch it out but they wouldn't. I went to another pharmacy today and got the Sandoz and within a few hours, my pressure was back to 121/82 (it wouldn't go below 144/111 with the Ranbaxy brand and got as high as 160/114).

"When I told my doc, she said I'm the third patient that told her about this same problem with exactly the same drug. She advised me to stay away from the Ranbaxy version." J.Q., January 23, 2009


Ranbaxy isn't the only company that has come under scrutiny. Other pharmaceutical firms have also gotten into trouble. Two manufacturers of long-acting generic bupropion, used to substitute for the brand name Wellbutrin XL 300, were selling products that were not bioequivalent. The heart medicine digoxin produced by the generic manufacturer Actavis had to be recalled because of dangerous dosing problems. Sandoz had to recall its blood pressure pill, metoprol, because of "deficiencies in documentation and in-process controls."

Although we have been reporting generic drug problems to the Food and Drug Administration for many years, they usually reassure us that there is nothing to worry about. Right around the time we were receiving the first complaints from consumers about Ranbaxy products in 2007, Ranbaxy employee Dinesh Thakur was filing a whistleblower complaint with the FDA. He was concerned that data were being adjusted to make the company's drugs look better than they really were. Without being alerted by this whistleblower, the FDA would probably not have discovered the widespread problems at Ranbaxy.

Will The Ranbaxy Import Ban Cause You Trouble?

The FDA has blocked import of active pharmaceutical ingredients from Ranbaxy plants that go into making the following drugs:

  • Atorvastatin tablets
  • Lorazepam tablets
  • Doxycycline monohydrate capsules
  • Donepezil tablets
  • Clorazepate tablets
  • Midozolam liquid

We asked the FDA whether Ranbaxy products still on pharmacy shelves should be recalled and whether patients should return their generic drugs to pharmacies. A representative told us that they were unaware of any reports of problems from patients. So far the agency is not requiring the removal of any current Ranbaxy products and it specifically states:

"The FDA recommends that patients not disrupt their drug therapy because this could jeopardize their health. Patients who are concerned about their medications should talk with their health care professional before discontinuing treatment."

The company told us, "Ranbaxy strongly believes that the product on the market does not pose any health risk to patients."

An unspoken complication of the Ranbaxy ban could be serious shortages of some of the medications listed above. There are already so many other drug shortages that hospital pharmacies often have to scramble to make substitutions.

If the FDA is so concerned about quality control that it has banned these popular Ranbaxy products from the U.S. market, why isn't it taking them off pharmacy shelves?

What do you think? Does this latest generic drug scandal make you wonder about the quality of the pills you are swallowing? Do you trust the FDA to monitor generic drug quality? Share your own story below in the comment section.

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Thanks Peoples Pharmacy for informing us.
Your site is very useful although I live in Sweden. Ranbaxy delivers certain medications here, too. It`s impossible to find out where they are made.

Do you have any idea where drugs for the European market are manufactured?

Do the drug-manufacturers import substances from all over the world and then put them together, for the final product, in another country?

People's Pharmacy response: Often that is exactly how it works.

It is also worth mentioning that in November 2012 that Ranbaxy was forced to recall 41 batches of 10-, 20- and 40-milligram doses of atorvastatin tablets that contained tiny glass particles in them.

"Ranbaxy's manufacturing deficiencies, dating to 2006, led to a lengthy investigation and sanctions by the FDA. During the probe, federal investigators found Ranbaxy didn't properly test the shelf life and other safety factors of its drugs and then lied about the results.

In mid-2008, the FDA barred Ranbaxy from shipping into the U.S more than 30 different drugs made at factories in India. Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Justice alleged the company lied about ingredients and formulations of some medications.

In early 2009, the FDA said it would not consider any new applications from Ranbaxy to sell in the U.S. any products made at the troubled factories. But last Nov. 30, on the day Lipitor's U.S. patent expired, FDA granted permission for Ranbaxy to sell a generic version made at a different factory."

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/ranbaxy-stops-generic-lipitor-production-amid-recall-for-tiny-glass-particles/

Does this mean that all of the generics listed and sold in the US contain ingredients from Ranbaxy, or only some of each generic? Does this mean we should switch to brand names until pharmacy shelves are eventually emptied of products from Ranbaxy? And if so, how will we know when that might be?

I hope the People's Pharmacy will keep us posted on this, since apparently we can't expect the FDA to do so.

My husband is on Atorvastatin, I don't know what Ranbaxy is or the generic... but should I be worried? call the dr?
Maybe part of the problem is WHY is the Rx being made in India?
why not in the good ole USA?

Thank you so much for the information you shared. And, thank you for your vigilance regarding our medical health. It is truly a shame that the FDA does not do a better job protecting us.

Is it better to pay for the brand name drug to ensure quality? How do we know where our generic drugs are manufactured?

I brought this issue up with my pharmacist and he said that if the FDA approved it then it must be safe. Yeah, right! Who do you trust?

I was given a substitute for my HRT, Estratest for 1 refill. I grew a beard.

Why does NO ONE regulate generics??? ASK MEDICARE why they REQUIRE generics, YET mess up my "medically necessary" 20+ year medication???

I've had problems with generics in the past, so I avoid them. I'm taking thyroid drugs, and must have a consistent dose of medication. Generic drugs are often worthless knock-offs. I had severe reactions to a generic allergy drug that the pharmacy substituted for my usual brand name drug. I had to discard it, because it made me so sick.

Please tell me why we can't make generic drugs in this country.

My husband take Coumadin. The pharmacy switched it to Warfarin sometime back. His INRs had been stable on brand name Coumadin but suddenly they were all over the place--totally unstable.

After sometime, I discovered that his Coumadin had been changed to generic warfarin. We had the pharmacy change back to Coumadin and his INR's have been stable ever since.

I'm more convinced than ever that the generic version of my SINGULAIR, which is MONTELUKAST, the generic version from Apotex. All I know is when I went on the medication SINGULAIR, from ACCOLATE, back in the early 1990's, I was helped in my asthma/COPD management.

Since then, I've abandoned the MONTELUKAST, due to suicide ideation. Fortunately, I'm noticing no measurable changes in my COPD, but yet again, I worry about just how "generically-the-same" these medications are, from companies that typically have a sole-motivation of profit, however they can get it, with skimpy, inadequate regulatory oversight, whether by our own FDA / Federal Gov't., or any other agencies. Might as well concede that the 1880's were a fine time to live, & us little people are just whiners--the rich have won.

Thank you for this good & important work.

I've had experience, too, with particular generic brands not working (don't remember whose).

How do you find out the manufacturer of a generic drug you are buying?

PEOPLE'S PHARMACY RESPONSE:

You have just identified one of the giant Catch 22s of all time! There is NO REQUIREMENT that a pharmacist put the name of the manufacturer on the label of a dispensed bottle of pills. As a result you have no way of knowing who made your generic medication or where it came from. But get this, if you want to file a complaint with the FDA about the quality of your medicine, the agency requires that you include:

1) The name of the manufacturer
2) The expiration date
3) The Lot number
4) The NDC code

None of that information is likely to be on the label of your generic bottle of pills.

You can call the pharmacy and ask who the manufacturer might have been. But pharmacies have no legal requirement to keep track of what they dispensed to any given individual, so it will be a guess. And pharmacies change generic suppliers on a regular basis depending upon the best deal they can get.

Want to read more about this Alice-in-Wonderland "system"? Here is a link: http://www.peoplespharmacy.com/2013/12/15/do-you-know-where-your-pills-were-made/

This kind of thing motivates me HUGELY to get healthy the natural way, by eating whole foods prepared mostly at home, exercising daily, keeping my weight within a healthy range, working to be a loving family and community member... and striving to get off and stay off prescription drugs for the rest of my life.

My best wishes to all who struggle with medical/health issues. I believe we can all live more naturally if we keep trying every day to do the right things.

Due to previous problems with generic substitutes, I am forced to pay much more money for the "Name Brand" heart medication I take on a daily basis. It drives me absolutely nuts when I read or hear stories about how insurance companies (including Medicare) are saving money for consumers by demanding they switch to generic drug "equivalents".

A cynic might conclude that requiring consumers to take drugs that do not work will indeed save money spent on those folks that ultimately die from lack of proper medication.

After reading your Alert this morning, I looked at my bottle of Ativan and saw that it was manufactured by Ranbaxy.

I am grateful to you for keeping your readers informed about the generic drug situations. My husband and son had expressed

their concern just this past week that I seem very stressed and react out of proportion to the situation.

My pharmacist said they have not had any complaints about Ativan snd that I need to ask my physician for an early refill of Ativan from another manufacturer and that they may have difficulty finding one who could ship it to them quickly.

I hope the FDA wakes up and smells the coffee!

wow most of the generics came from India and China and both are in big trouble FOR POOR PERFORMANCE AND FRAUD.

My Dr. put me on Metoprolol for my blood pressure, my right leg aches from the knee down ever since I started taking it, could the medication cause it?

People's Pharmacy response: Be sure to discuss this with your doctor. Sometimes the drug can interfere with good circulation in the limbs.

Any legitimate Pharmacy is required to put the name brand of the drug on the patient label. I would say (having worked in a pharmacy) that a reputable pharmacy (if it's a chain-the buyers of drugs) would check
the FDA approvals of the companies they buy drugs from. It behooves the large chains to be careful of what they buy as any large scale adverse effects of drugs would cause a detriment to the chain pharmacy.
It is still a "caveat" of the patient to check your labels-make sure its what MD prescribed-also check manufactures-a reputable Pharmacist should be able to answer all your questions.

and this surprises ANYONE?
APPALLS, yes; surprise . . . ?

FDA: yet another government agency that can't be trusted - surprise!!

Of course, FDA gets part of their funding from Big Pharma, and their "advisory committees" are partly composed of Big Pharma current and former employees. No wonder so many suspect drugs are approved on an expedited basis, then have to be recalled later as unsafe.

And what about herbal supplements, and contaminated food? FDA is supposed to monitor those too.

Can we ask at the pharmacy that the following information be put on our prescriptions? Are the pharmacist required to do it if we request it?
1) The name of the manufacturer
2) The expiration date
3) The Lot number
4) The NDC code

PEOPLE'S PHARMACY RESPONSE:

Great question. If you ask the pharmacist should be happy to supply this information. There is no legal requirement, however.

We think this is an excellent suggestion and encourage everyone to do this routinely. It will take the pharmacist or technician a little bit longer to give you the info, but it is well worth the effort.

Even better, ask your Congressman to initiate federal legislation requiring all pharmacies to put this information (and country of origin data) on all prescription labels going forward! We need bold action to prevent the current Catch-22 mess from continuing.

I take lorazepam on a regular basis, and have noticed at times that I don't feel right. I've changed pharmacies and now get the original bottle from them and it comes from Sandoz so I know I'm safe on this medication.

Thanks so much for your warning so I can keep aware of the problems. As usual you're a life saver.... Thanks and God bless.....

Great job. Allah bless you.

Great; this all we need! I don't trust the FDA or our representatives in D.C., our U S Senators or U S House members. They are all on the take and until a few of them are negatively affected not a GD thing will change!

What the hell are our medications being made in a third world country for anyway!!!! It will kill some of us!!

I have given up on the BIG PHARMA & their crooked lobbyists!!

Thank you People's Pharmacy for this alarming and important news. As for identifying the manufacturer of generic medications, for those who have the option, I want to share that CVS Pharmacy lists the manufacturer and expiration date on every prescription label, generic or brand. (I just checked every bottle in the house.) The Prescription paperwork that accompanies the script includes the NDC and what may be the lot #. Optum RX, the mail order pharmacy that filled my mother's scripts (her Part D medicare provider) also labels their bottles.

As a physician, I have been telling friends and family members for years that generic drugs are not required by FDA to be 100% equivalent, and that the lie foisted on the public, that they are, is simply a money saving factor for health insurance companies that so not want to pay for the real thing.

This especially applies to generic digitalis, synthroid, and most of the "head" drugs. I have personally had bad reactions to some (not all) generic erythromycins. This is especially important for allergic individuals like myself, who may be allergic to some of the unlisted fillers used by generic drug companies.

I see the FDA as a morally bankrupt and useless outfit that doesn't want to rock the political boat. given this article, I will now check the origin of my own generic drugs (the few that I take) to see which company is providing them. Also, if you want to have some fun, check the price of name brand drugs here versus Canada- quite a big difference for exactly the same thing.
thanks,
SEH

How do we know the Ranbaxy (generic) names and/or the matching names of which drugs they are designed to simulate? Also, you indicate that the FDA has banned the use of the list of six of their drugs, but the question is "as of when?" If we wanted to file a complaint, where/how do we do so?

People's Pharmacy response: The name of the manufacturer might be listed on your prescription bottle, though most of the other information the FDA requires may not be. If you have a bad reaction (or don't have a good response) to a generic medication, we urge you to report it to the FDA through MedWatch. The url is long, but it is easy to search through your browser and find the "Consumer-Friendly Voluntary Reporting Form."
http://www.fda.gov/safety/MedWatch/HowToReport/default.htm

Anyone heard anything about a generic drug made in India called Lisinopril? I'm just waiting for that one....I ended up in the ER, with an airway tube down my throat....I am also on atorvastatin and terrified. I am on Medicaid, so I have no choice as to generics.....thanks

People's Pharmacy response: Lisinopril can cause angioedema (swelling of the lips, tongue and throat) regardless of where it is made. Be sure to tell your prescribers that you have had this life-threatening reaction.

Lest any of us forget - our budget-chopping Congress has regularly cut funding for the FDA and other agencies that are charged with safeguarding the welfare of the American public. Money does not exist for adequate inspections of either our drug or food supply IN THIS COUNTRY! The chance of inspections taking place overseas are nil and none.

It is not at all surprising that a foreign corporation with no oversight from the U.S. Government has no incentive to run clean, honest operations. We are naive if we think that just because a drug product has been approved by the FDA it is safe. Look at all of the FDA approved brand-name drugs that have been taken off the market when serious health problems and deaths have occurred as a result of taking them.

In my opinion, Ranbaxy should be permanently barred from selling any pharmaceutical product in the USA, and we are culpable if we do not DEMAND of our representatives in Washington that enough money be restored to the FDA, NIH, and other agencies for them to do their jobs of making sure the food and drug supply we depend on is safe.

I am 76, am the end result of a lot of medical errors, therefore, have to take a lot of medication to stay alive. All but lyrica and insulin are generic. Once I fall into the donut hole, usually by June, I have to pay a negotiated price for the name brand items. Lyrica costs me more than my first out of pocket purchase in 2010 when I paid 100%.

Last year lyrica cost me more than $1000, almost the entire amount of one month's SS. If I have to go name brand on all my meds, I will fall into the donut hole in Feb, die in March. Perhaps a slight exaggeration; however, since the FDA and the rest of our gov't are owned by the pharmaceuticals, drug prices, in this country, are as high as the sky.

In other countries prices are negotiated by gov't; even in this country the VA is allowed to negotiate drug pricing, but SS is not. Therefore, we are forced into using generics whenever available.

I am very concerned about generics being insisted upon by the insurance companies. The pharmacy that supplies these generics cannot assure me that it is from the same manufacturer each time. I had an allergic reaction to the generic version of Flomax. I switched back to brand Flowmax but the insurance company will not pay for it. The story is the same with cholesterol medicine. The FDA is not doing its job.

speaking on synthroid!! I was on that for 25 yrs, no problems... levothyroxine has made me nervous, given me insomnia, etc and gained wt. My Medicaid will not pay for (not LET me pay for) Synthroid again and it has been adjusted "up and down" 4 x....I've had to go to the er TWICE WITH HEART PALPITATIONS (I also have high blood pressure and cholesterol) and that certainly isn't saving anyone money or pain.

I do not trust any generic drug regardless of who makes it. Generics do not work for me and some have cause serious side effects.

My son has been getting generic Ativan, lorazepam, from CVS, and he has complained for many weeks that he thought it did not have the same strength as when he used the generic lorazepam from another pharmacy. I looked at his bottle just now and sure enough, it is made by Ranbaxy!

When he sees his doctor tomorrow he will get his new prescription filled at Walgreens. Not sure what company makes their generic lorazepam but the pill is twice the size and seems effective for him. Thank you for this wonderful alert that confirms our suspicions!

Yes, the fabulous FREE MARKET (ie Social Darwinism) at its best! No one would want to take away your "choice" (choice?? what "choice" do we have?)

Is it possible to get a list of all the drugs imported from Ranbaxy? If so, where?

People's Pharmacy response: There is a list here: http://www.drugs.com/manufacturer/ranbaxy-pharmaceuticals-inc-120.html
We don't know how recently it was updated.

How are China and India "in big trouble"? With whom? Our govt won't protect us---they are busy signing the finishing touches on TPP free trade agreement. Nothing will happen to them, as long as no one really rich dies.

Thank you so much for all the info. I will be going to India this year for two years doing Missionary work in New Delhi. A friend is going also. She has been to India before and said not to worry about my medications because they are so cheap there. Now I will make sure that I have them mailed to me from the US. Thank you again for your info!!!!

I don't think the law behooves them to do anything of the kind...if a drug kills a few, it MAY get reported, then, the media attention goes away and we are all still stuck with what our "insurance" will cover. If they get sued, the settlement amount never approaches what their profits were/will be under our patent laws... and, they just do not care. They do calculations as to how much it would cost them to correct the problem or pay or the sick and dead, and they usually just give a few ppl. hush money. I've seen it with my own eyes.

Simple solution, manufacture the drugs in the U.S. Giant pharmeciticals already have obscene profits... it is all about greed that substandard wages are paid and substandard products are produced offshore to line the pockets of the very few at the top. FDA? U.S. government, Congress... where are you in this very serious issue? Off having lunch or dinner with your lobbyist friends??

I say, take the profit motive out of it... natioanlized health care, the govt gives them research money, and purchases the drugs to disseminate to patients. Or, actually free the mkt entirely, and another corp. will come up with the drug, safer and cheaper, eventually. You just have to let 100s of ppl die first. That seems to be acceptable to free marketeers.

Excuse me for asking. What is this NDC code --what does it mean?

You might want to call your local Walgreen's before having ANY prescription filled there. I've already had problems with several of my 'scripts that U.S. pharmaceutical companies have been farming out to India to make their generics. My Walgreen's will NOT guarantee their generics won't be made in India & they have NO interest in buying meds made in the U.S. or any other country with quality-controlled manufacturers.

I'm now STUCK PAYING EXTORTIONATE CO-PAYS at a pharmacy which is 'non-preferred' by my Medicare Part D carrier (Wellcare, even though they raised my monthly fee for their "services" by $10.00!) because my 'non-preferred' pharmacy can get at least a few of my 'scripts made anywhere-that's-not-India.

My pharmacy gets annoyed with me but I have sarcoidosis, & with a tanked immune system my lungs especially are already trashed by several rather ugly flare-ups. Maybe a with a few less contaminants in my meds, I won't get any worse, who knows?. Anyway, I prefer my meds to a) WORK, & b) NOT contain various & assorted dust particles, glass fragments, rodent hairs, or insect parts and/or poo.

It would be lovely if the FDA were more vigilant with prescription meds made outside the U.S., but I'm not great at holding my breath anymore. I will say though, that one 'script I had used to be made by Teva's branch in Israel & it was exactly as effective as the name brand. Sadly, though, Teva stopped making that generic.

If you look online for your medicine's name, you can see which companies make it, then find by company name where it's located, & then contact your pharmacy to see if they can order from the companies outside of India. Best of luck to you..

After 12 years on a low dosage blood pressure med (benazepril, the generic for Lotensin)and having it control my bp extremely well, my blood pressure shot up, sending me to the ER twice in one month.

My doctors doubled the benazepril, which still didn't control my bp, so they added a calcium channel blocker (Amlodipine Besylate) which with the benzaepril is keeping my bp at normal levels.

I can't help but wonder if my pharmacy, Walmart, hadn't changed manufacturers and if that wasn't the problem.

Has anyone else had a similar problem with benazepril in the last year or so?

My heart doctor from The Cleveland Clinic warned me not to take generic drugs. He stated that many of them were made in the most filthy remote areas of India and many times mixed with drywall ingredients which have caused DEATHS! These medications are NOT well regulated. He writes on my prescriptions that a generic drug is not to be substituted with the initials OBD (ordered by doctor). Unfortunately, they cost more but is it worth the lower price? ABSOLUTELY NOT!

Thank you for the always helpful info. After reading the foregoing, I checked my husband's 9 Rx bottles and noticed his Metropolol Tartrate 25 MG is manufactured by Ranbaxy. Considering his age (84) and multiple health problems, this greatly concerns me. So many side effects to each Rx that one has to wonder how much of his pain, discomfort, memory loss. etc. is a result of some of the meds. I am especially grateful for this column since I have recently considered
changing pharmacies since Walgreen's is nearer; have just changed my mind!

Capitalism.

I just used a magnifying glass to read the entire label of my prescription bottle. It does say in tiny letters, right under the name of the drug, "MFG SANDOZ." I filled the prescription at Walgreen's.

This article is great, but I can't say it was "helpful". Why? because I already don't take, nor intend to take, ANY Rx or OTC drugs ever again if I can help it! If I were in unbearable pain, or was smashed in a car wreck... who knows? but I'm 67 and have found better ways of handling any problems that have come up. (with the help of folks like the Graedons)

RAJ: I'm a 35 year RN, and have seen many times what meds, and especially multiple meds do to people. also I have been reading and learning about these things for years now. Get OFF those drugs (carefully). Find the CAUSE of any problems you may have and deal with them on that level. (nutritional, emotional, exposure to toxins....etc) and don't be fooled that you have a "problem" or "disorder" that isn't real. For instance... google what Dr. Joe Mercola and the Graedons have to say about cholesterol. Take some responsibility for your own health. Blindly trusting MDs doesn't work any more. They are misinformed. Eat some garlic, drink some clean water, keep your vitamin D level up, and do a bit of yoga. All the best to you.

Now I am afraid to take my prescriptions.....

dhc
You wrote "Considering his age (84) and multiple health problems, this greatly concerns me. So many side effects to each Rx that one has to wonder how much of his pain, discomfort, memory loss. etc. is a result of some of the meds".


My multi-medicated father passed away, in 2003. From then on, I have learnt a lot about health care, medications etc. I have read many, critical books. Most of them from the U.S. (I live in Sweden).

Here are some suggestions:
Top Screw Ups That Doctors Make - and how to avoid them (Joe and Teresa Graedon), Are your prescriptions killing you? (Armon B. Neel and Bill Hogan), Rethinking Ageing (Nortin M. Hadler), Seeking Sickness (Alan Cassels), Ignore the akward (Uffe Ravnskov), The Statin Damage Crisis (Duane Graveline), The Great Cholesterol Con (Anthony Colpo), Overdosed America (John Abramson), Our Daily Meds (Melody Petersen), The truth about the drug companies (Marcia Angell), Overtreated (Shannon Brown Lee) etc.

I think that some of my father´s "diagnosis" were wrong. I think he suffered from side effects but was prescribed another drug. At the time, I had no idea.

The best thing you can do for yourself and others is to look for information - in many different ways and places - and try to make up your mind and particularly if someone is suggesting preventative medicine for your cholesterol numbers etc.

Then you may, really, suffer from "pain, discomfort, memory loss". Just read the patient stories on this site and on askapatient.com.
All statins have similar side effect.

There is a international network of cholesterol skeptic doctors /scientists on thincs.org and if you go to News you will find many interesting articles and also some videos.

If you google - The Lipitor Paradox - you will find a humorous, serious and sad video (all statins have similar side effects).

You can also google - Wonder Drug That Stole My Memory - an article by an English journalist (The Telegraph, March 2009).

Let's just keep charging and suing Ranbaxy until we've got ALL their money and use it to subsidize U.S. production of generics to keep their price down!
tutorjb1 JB

It is high time the U.S. government took over production and regulation of all generic meds and pharmaceuticals/supplies for our country. We have shortages of normal saline, potassium, nitroglycerin, lasix, etc. etc. This is totally UNACCEPTABLE!

As a physician, I have noted that some patients improved on a med and others did not. Usually related to antibiotics, but some other meds too. It seemed odd. Lives are at stake. Same goes for the propane "shortage" in the Midwest. Why is this happening when we supposedly have a surplus of energy? It is related to the greed of companies extracting our natural resources and shipping them overseas. There needs to be better regulation to protect consumers not corporations.

This goes hand-in-glove with the "rant" at the end of the last episode of your show. The rotating shortage of key medications, most of which are now mostly generic, and the unreliability off-shore generic medication producers indicates that the free market is trying to kill us.

I think it is time for the government to exert more control over the supply chain of generic medications. I would suggest that legislation be passed that all generic medications be produced in the United States. This would create jobs. Also the government take measures to assure that the supply chain for normal saline, epinephrine, atropine, fentanyl, and the long list of essential medications (many of which have no suitable substitute) that have been on and off in short supply, be assured.

Many large hospitals now have pharmacists whose full time job is to acquire and horde essential medications in order to be prepared for a shortage and to avoid having to buy these medications on the black market. This is a key way in which our current medical system is broken. The pharmaceutical industry does not want this story to get out.

Is there a way to find out where our prescription drugs are made?

It is totally incomprehensible for me to understand why all drugs are not made in this country. We have the brainpower, the research in most cases was done here, why don't we take care of our own? What good is the FDA ?

The simple answer is that they can get cheaper labor overseas (or in South America) and they don't have to follow FDA reg. (what few we have left) They can also treat the workers pretty much like slaves.... but, never fear, with globalization now in full swing, the low wages and crappy cond. are returning home and I am not sure we can stop it. They wanted bigger mkts. and they got them. They do not need a US middle class anymore, Asia and EU will buy their drugs.

Another big reason that should be mentioned (esp. EU) is that the state provides health care for workers, so that is a big cost-cutter for them, even though the min. wage in France is $13.... Big Pharma has become a corporation whose main focus (by its charter) is to make money for its shareholders. I think that that is an immoral way to deliver health care, but, apparently most Americans like being "free to die with their rights on."

As a community pharmacist, generic drugs made in India especially Ranbaxy are not effective.
I hear it from too many patients and have experienced it myself.
Yes, pharmacy is a profession and a business but the business part is the primary focus of most chain pharmacies.
It got worst after the launch of Walmart's $4 generic program launch. You get what you pay for, it's just true.
What Ranbaxy has done is criminal ...no different than the pharmacist convicted of diluting chemotherapy for cancer patients for more profit.
We should demand that Ranbaxy products be pulled from the pharmacy shelves.
But it won't happen.
It's all about the money and I can't understand why the major news media has not run the story.
It's all about the money.
Pharmacist fear of losing their jobs if they even mention this is happening.
This is the truth and I am ashamed to admit it.

I am taking a generic for blood pressure and the name is losartan.
Brand name is Diovan.

With the generic one I have had shortness of breath, BP is still and I also have developed and dry cough and stay very tired.

The brand name did not do that to me so I guess I will have to go back to brand name and do without some food or other things I need to make up the higher price.

I am on Medicaid and all my Rxs have to be generic and I cannot afford to buy them--am I better off just not taking them? (blood pressure, cholesterol, thyroid, and gabepentin for pain)

why don't the media expose this? you answer your own question. it's about the money. drug avertising is about creating cozy relationships between major media and big pharma. more bribes than ads. so they won't run any story that offends big-money advertisers.

Want to know why Rx drugs are not always mfg in this country? the answer is money-American companies set up pharmaceutical plants in India, China-cheap labor-Mind you any manufacturing facility of drugs should be closely monitored by FDA safeguards-there are many that have sterling records for good and safe procedures. We have such as Eli Lilly-(very reputable). Many companies that mfg name brands also make generics, it's cost effective and can be done safely.

I am so disappointed. I have been on lorezapam for years due to a anxiety disorder. Ranbaxy was the best lorezapam I have taken. Now I'm having a hard time getting any other generic to work like ranbaxy did. Please tell me how I can get this brand. I miss it so much!!! I think if you checked out any other pharmaceutical company your going to find fault. I never had any problems with my pills at all. So again If I have to get these out of the US please allow me to have the info I need to return to a better state mentally. Thank you!

Interesting note. My insurance company switched me from Lipitor to a "generic" in January. 3 months later I had a "Cardiac Event". Went to the hospital, one of my heart arteries was blocked. Stent was put in, and I am doing well now. However, Dr. increased dosage from 10mg to 40mg.

I see a correlation to being switched from Lipitor to a generic. Now, I am on blood thinner, and BP medicine (never had BP issues before), as well as the increased statin dosage. I am blaming the insurance company for my "event". Stress test last year showed nothing abnormal.
Generics are not always the best medicine.

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