The People's Perspective on Medicine

Do You Have Any Idea Where Your Pills Are Made?

Do you swallow any pills? Perhaps a vitamin or mineral? How about a pain reliever or a blood pressure pill? We bet you don't have a clue where your pills are made. Should you be allowed to know?

Do you swallow any pills in the morning? We would be surprised to learn that you don’t. Most Americans swallow a handful without even thinking. Let’s start with vitamins. Millions of people take B vitamins along with C and D. Then there are dietary supplements like turmeric (curcumin), calcium, magnesium, glucosamine, CoQ10 and probiotics. Many people take pain relievers (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen or naproxen along with acid-suppressing PPIs, blood pressure pills, diabetes drugs and cholesterol-lowering medicines. Do you have a clue where your pills are made?

Once Upon A Time:

There was a time when most prescription and over-the-counter drugs were made in the USA. That included both brand name and generic medications. The FDA made a concerted effort to inspect manufacturing facilities on a regular basis.

These visits were not announced in advance. That always made sense to us. No one would want a drug manufacturing company to know the inspectors were coming. That way FDA officials could see what was really going on in the facility. You would not want the local health department to notify restaurants in advance that they were planning to inspect the kitchens.

Where Your Pills Are Made Today:

Over the last two decades, the pharmaceutical industry has changed dramatically. Manufacturing of many medications has shifted overseas because it is cheaper to make medicines in China, India, Thailand, Slovakia or Brazil.

The Story of Aspirin:

A decade ago Gardiner Harris wrote a compelling article for the New York Times Magazine titled “The Safety Gap” (Oct. 31, 2008). His first paragraph tells the story of aspirin:

In the belly of an industrial district south of Lyon, France, just past a sulfurous oil refinery and a synthetic vanilla plant, sits a run-down, eight-story factory that makes aspirin, the first pharmaceutical blockbuster. The Lyon factory is the last of its kind. No other major facility in Europe or the United States makes generic aspirin anymore. The market has been taken over by low-cost Chinese producers. Even Bayer, the German company that created aspirin in the 1890s and has fought for more than a century to distinguish its product as the most trustworthy one, now has backup supplies from China.”

Mr. Harris went on to point out in 2008 that “China now produces about two-thirds of all aspirin and is poised to become the world’s sole global supplier in the not-too-distant future.”

How would you know where your aspirin is made? Certainly not by looking on the label! What about acetaminophen, ibuprofen or naproxen. Do you have a clue where your vitamin D3 comes from or your vitamin C? Chances are you don’t. There is nothing on over-the-counter drugs or dietary supplements to tell you where your pills are made.

Where Was the FDA?

The FDA was slow to respond to the outsourcing of pharmaceuticals. It took years for the agency to figure out how it might assess foreign-based facilities. Countries like China and India require notice far in advance before an inspection can take place.

We’ve never understood why the FDA tolerates such limitations. If a country wants to export its pharmaceuticals to the USA, shouldn’t it have to play by the same rules as American-based manufacturers?

FDA Warning Letters: Form 483

Even with advanced notice, many foreign manufacturers have received warning letters from the FDA. The Food and Drug Administration labels such warnings a Form 483. What this letter typically means is that the company has violated an FDA rule. It might have to do with manufacturing or misinformation.

Companies that have received warnining letters from the FDA include Wockhardt, Ranbaxy, Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories, Aurobindo, Sun Pharmaceutical Industries and Fosun Pharma. In some cases the agency detected deviations from good manufacturing processes and kept some of their drug products from being sold in the US.

The Valsartan Debacle:

This summer, valsartan blood pressure pills were subject to a world-wide recall. The problem pharmaceuticals contained an active ingredient made by Zhejiang Huahai Pharmaceutical Company in Linhai, China. The company had changed its manufacturing process and as a consequence the medicine was contaminated with a probable carcinogen, NDMA. This problem had gone undetected for years.

More recently, a US subsidiary of an Indian company, Accord Healthcare, mislabeled bottles of blood pressure medication. The label said hydrochlorothiazide 12.5 mg. The pills actually contained spironolactone 25 mg. For some patients, this mistake could have been a life-threatening error. These two drugs have very different effects on the mineral potassium. Hydrochlorothiazide depletes the body of potassium, while spironolactone can raise potassium levels.

Readers Want to Know Where Your Pills Are Made:

One reader wrote:

“HCTZ was prescribed to lower my idiopathic high potassium level. I am beyond grateful for your column addressing the recall of Accord’s generic formula. I’m concerned that this medicine could be having the opposite effect of its intended one.”

Many people would appreciate knowing where their pills come from. One woman tried to do her homework:

“I take losartan. With the recall of valsartan, I wanted to see where my own drugs were manufactured. I happen to have two generics in my cabinet, one being a new refill.

“I called CVS. The pharmacist could only find the location of one of the drugs. It came from India, although it had a US drug company on it until you probed further. She could not find the origin of the other generic pill, but she gave me the phone number for the drug company. I called and they would not tell me where the drugs where manufactured. They said it was basically their secret.

“The drug companies do not have to make the country of origin public knowledge. I am appalled by this. It needs to change!”

Another reader expressed an opinion that many share:

“All drugs sold in the US should be labeled as to country of origin for all ingredients. We need Congress to pass a LAW to that effect ASAP!”

The People’s Pharmacy Perspective:

We believe that all pharmaceuticals and dietary supplements should have country of origin information on the label in print that anyone can read. We also recognize that this is complicated. The active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) in any pill is the most important component. But there are other ingredients as well. They include binders, fillers, coloring agents, etc. These are referred to as excipients or inactive ingredients.

A blood pressure API like lisinopril might be made in China. But the other inactive ingredients might come from Slovakia or Pakistan. The final pill could be manufactured in India. What should go on the label? We think there are two essential factors: Where did the active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) come from and where was the pill formulated? At most, that would be two countries. That’s not so difficult.

Chain pharmacies might decide that their customers would like to purchase vitamins, over-the-counter medications and prescription drugs made in a country where FDA inspections are unannounced.

What do you think? Share your own perspective on where your pills made. Do you think country of origin information should be included on vitamins, dietary supplements and pharmaceuticals?

Rate this article
star-fullstar-emptystar-fullstar-emptystar-fullstar-emptystar-fullstar-emptystar-fullstar-emptystar-fullstar-emptystar-fullstar-emptystar-fullstar-emptystar-fullstar-emptystar-fullstar-empty
4.9- 20 ratings
About the Author
Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist who has dedicated his career to making drug information understandable to consumers. His best-selling book, The People’s Pharmacy, was published in 1976 and led to a syndicated newspaper column, syndicated public radio show and web site. In 2006, Long Island University awarded him an honorary doctorate as “one of the country's leading drug experts for the consumer.” .
Show 1131: Was Your Medicine Made in China?
Free - $9.99

In the last 20 years, pharmaceutical manufacturing has shifted to other countries from the US. Find out what difference it could make if your medicine was made in China.

Show 1131: Was Your Medicine Made in China?
Join over 150,000 Subscribers at The People's Pharmacy

We're empowering you to make wise decisions about your own health, by providing you with essential health information about both medical and alternative treatment options.

Showing 93 comments
Comments
Add your comment

Just visited my doctor for my annual checkup and asked him about the issues on drugs manufactured overseas. “It is the economy.” he said and highlighted the following: US manufacturers including the laboratory work and required equipment, getting people to test the effectiveness of the drug, marketing, use of investors money and the LABOR COST in the US when compared with India, China and other countries – do your math. And when the drug is approved for use by FDA, the department imposes on the US originator of the drug a time limit of 10 years or more for exclusive use before the Generic drugs come into play. My doctor adds that it involves millions if not billions of dollars of expense, whether the drug is successful or unsuccessful in development phase.
No matter, it is the “US Labor Cost” not to mention numerous Class-action Suits that contributes to the proliferation of Generic drugs from other countries. My take for added safety in the use of the Generics is for FDA to assign permanent staff for daily Quality Control in those countries.

Outrageous that country of origin, batch, and other pertinent information is not listed on the pill bottle for all meds, vitamins, supplements, and herbals.

There are so many thinking people here. Who will begin a grass roots campaign to have this happen? I feel I have lost my freedom of choice by country of origin not being required on all foods. GMOs must also be labeled. And now this. All three.

Thank you for keeping us up to date.

We pay so much for our meds. We trust our country to keep control, and yet another dangerous substance gets in our blood stream.
We cannot teach the FDA how to do their job. They should know by now to keep a vigilant eye on it!!!
Well. it is not only important to know where the meds are coming from but especially if they are under strict manufacturer’s control.
Elementary, Watson!!! Why is this issue still not resolved????

Good points, Ann —
especially your point that we’re paying ever-higher prices for Rx meds, EVEN AS long-established, US government safety & quality controls are being gradually dismantled at the behest of Big Pharma corporations [which themselves are increasingly denaturing even their own, in-house voluntary quality controls]. but, more disastrously, are also, in addition, now able to freely and anonymously ‘buy-off’ the underlying PUBLIC lawmaking & regulatory processes of politically-elected government itself—-especially via the 2010 SCOTUS ruling known as “Citizens United Decision.”
So, the meta-issue, here with unsafe foreign-made drugs, is, IMO, far-more-rooted in the corruption & failure of US Political Theory, rather than in the situational details of how to now regulate any specific form of Imported Industrialized Medicine-per se.
We need a loud political re-affirmation of the right of US citizens to democratically control the harmful excesses of corporations, espcially when our immediate health and safety is at stake.
The oncoming tsunami, into the US, of poorly-regulated and not-infrequently-harmful, Rx drugs from poorly-governed foreign countries, is guaranteed to only get worse for us Americans in this age of corporately-rigged International Trade Agreements — agreements that’re just as often corporate-cum-government-collusively-rigged by unthinking and/or outright-corrupt, public officials in the West.
Both Trump, and his earlier candidate-opponent, Hillary, were, from the beginning, and remain to this day, false defenders of democratically Accountable Capitalism, nor are either of them credible reformers of the presently-anti-Enlightenment, corporatist-dominated, ‘global world order.’

I recently read that certain lots of Valasartan manufactured by Torrent Pharma were recalled for the same reasons that other brands were.
I take Telmisartan manufactured by Torrent. My box says it is manufactured by TORRENT PHARMACEUTICALS LTD.,Bharuch 392130,INDIA.
NOW I wonder if that is true. How can I find out if the FDA is investigating any of the various brands of Telmisartan tablets?

Joe please send this e-mail to the president, and include the all the comments. I am sure
he takes pills too, who doesn’t. He has grand kids as
well as a son. He wants jobs back in the US. These manufactures should be only in the U.S, I wonder if these all pills which have not followed the original recipe also creates Dementia. Why
are our Doctors not complaining?

I think every thing should labled, I think the FDA should be monitoring it. I know there there is practically no monitoring of the overseas facilities. If these products are being made cheaply in China and India, why are they costing us an arm and a leg?

Doesn’t really matter if you know or not–there are almost no other options, unless you are independently wealthy ! The FDA is really not up to the task of protecting consumers and are at the mercy of Big Pharma, even though it is supposed to be unbiased. We are really behind Europe, Canada, and other countries on this subject. A major quick shift in legislation is required.

This is “Elementary Common Sense” in my opinion. The USA FDA should monitor ALL imported drugs, including routine inspections of the manufacturing facility. Better yet, manufacture them in the USA!! 🇺🇸

Appears to me that our elected officials are much more concerned with keeping the flow of money to fund their re-electtion campaigns than with the safety of what is consumed by their constituants. So let’s fix that. Elect all new individuals. But who is going to fund the election of new office holders? OOPS!

Might it be time for taxpayer funding of election campaigns? That way there could be limits set on the maximum candidates could spend. The pols have had a long time in which to create the cozy process we now have whereby office holders and/or candidates are, in effect, payed in advance for their votes in the future. Anyone see any problems with this?

Wish I knew how to cause this change in how we elect our pols.

Paul, I think you already have the answer to this. Vote all these corrupt politicians out, and elect ones that pledge not to take any SUPER PAC money or bribes from special interest groups. We need a complete overhall of Congress right now.

Country of origin should be required by law.

The U.S. DHSS should be given the responsibility and budget to enforce such a law.

Civil and criminal penalties for failure to disclose and to disclose accurately should be imposed.

So, it is illegal to purchase drugs from other countries but it’s perfectly ok for these countries to secretly send the same drugs to our pharmacies which, in turn, sell them to us for more money!!

Absolutely, I want the countries of origin for my meds, BUT still how would we know if the meds are what they are supposed to be with no FDA looking over their shoulders?

I think country of origin information should be included on vitamins, dietary supplements and pharmaceuticals. Thanks for advancing this idea and for making room for others’ responses. Maybe we can help get something going.

Daffodil from England.
This is quite frightening.
How do we find out where they are made if we are in the UK?

For some time I had been taking Celebrex and then I became a Kaiser member. When a refill was required it took me several refills to notice that the Celebrex wasn’t working as well. I noticed on the bottle the manufacturer was either in China or India. Having looked up the original manufacturer of Celebrex, I requested that their subsidiary be the supplier of further refills. Kaiser didn ‘t like it, but my doctor approved when I mentioned that the Celebrex made by a foreign company was no where near accomplishing pain relief for me.
Now I LOOK at the manufacturer of any prescription meds prescribed to me, realizing Kaiser is a massive organization and would like to buy less expensive drugs – I am amazed that they do not wish to give their patients the best medicines to cure/help them!
Everyone needs to take care and be watchful!

I believe most Vit C is made in China

we all need to flood the FDA with comments about drugs made in other countries, especially China !!!!!..start writing emails!!!!…even some of the ingredients are made in China and sent here and mixed here…..companies in the USA should not mix ingredients from other countries……that will kill people or make them sick……FDA could do better…..^.^

Get your Vit. C from food! If you eat a balanced diet you will be better off than swallowing toxic, dangerous drugs from China, India, Slovakia, Brazil, etc. Don’t put garbage in your body. Remember the days before supplements were pushed and advertised, and we survived just fine on eating a balanced diet?

What you eat should be a very high priority. Take time to eat a balanced diet of wholesome food. Toss the chips and baked items. Eat real food!
As for obtaining blood pressure meds that aren’t toxic, that is probably not possible.
Jesse

I had been taking Valsartan for about 2 or 3 years when I read about the recall in People’s Pharmacy newsletter. I asked my local pharmacy when they were notified and it was just the day before I read about it!! It was a big problem; they were swamped with the work.
I had always assumed my drugs were made in the US and the FDA was keeping strict tabs on the quality. If there’s one product where quality control is the most important I would have to say it is in the manufacture of drugs which have the power to kill. We must insist to Congress that all drugs be manufactured in the US where we at least can hold the FDA to their responsibility to protect us. Write or call your Congressperson.

Maybe Congress could create manufacturers for the 20 leading generic drugs purchased by Medicare. then they could control everything from the beginning and ensure that the medication is made to FDA standards.

This is what I do not understand about pharmacies saying that they do not have any information to give customers in regards to their drugs. I recently had a 90 day prescription of valsartan filled by CVS. It came in a large plastic bottle not unlike the bottles I see on the shelves behind the pharmacist. On that bottle was written the lot number, the NDC number, the manufacturer (in this case, Jubilant Cadista, made in India). I was able to go on the FDA recall list and check these numbers. I also went on the Cadista site and noticed that they had 2 lots that were being recalled. Luckily, I did not have any of them, but my point is that is was not that hard, and also, these pharmacies DO have this info. My sister ordered a smaller version of the valsartan and that was in one of those amber plastic bottles with NO info on it. I think the public has a case for at least demanding thier drug stores to supply this info when they clearly have it…. right on their shelves in most cases.

Check out this website: https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cder/ndc/dsp_searchresult.cfm
On your Rx label is the company name that manufactures your prescription. If you go to the above website you can see if that company is registered with the FDA. One of my previous prescriptions was from a company that was unregistered.

This is an outrageous situation!! And what happens if countries providing our meds are not on friendly terms with us? China has a history of trouble providing safe products for it’s own people, vis a vis the baby formula debacle years ago that caused the death of so many infants. I will be contacting my US senator and reps immediately!

After reading this article I emailed my two Senators and my congressman. It is really appalling that this has happened. The efficacy of our Rx drugs is life and death for many of us and the fact that these substances can be harmful is really scary, especially when we think of children taking their antibiotics for infections that has just come from a filthy dirty factory in China or India or wherever. If you haven’t written you federal congressman, please do it now.

Of course we have the right to know where our prescription & OTC’s come from – both the ingredients & place of manufacture. They should be made in U.S. where they are within the oversight of the FDA & if not they should meet the same criteria.

A US based company is having product made off shore shipped to the US for distribution. The FDA should inspect product for proper ingedrents. Hold the US company accountable. Heavy fines will get their attention.

I take vitamins and attempted to find out the source buy most companies refused to tell me. Only NatureMade clearly states it on their website:

Where are your products manufactured?
Answer: All Nature Made products are manufactured to meet our high quality standards. Most all of our products are manufactured at our own facilities in Southern California. For the few products that are made by other companies, we work with a few, select, highly qualified contract manufacturers that manufacture to our high standards. Most of these contract manufacturers are located in the United States, but a few are located overseas. None are located in China.

Read more at http://www.naturemade.com/faqs/general-faqs#vlydaLzatL9QQclL.99

I read this book recently: “Poorly made in China” by Paul Midler https://www.amazon.com/Poorly-Made-China-Insiders-Production/dp/1491552549
After reading it, I want to know if my pills are made in China or not.

Alarming! I have a nephew who takes medications for mental health and different binders
made a difference to him.

We have an absolute right to know where our pharmaceuticals are manufactured! Country of origin labels are required on clothing, food products, household products, etc. How come not on drugs we consumer? I agree with a previous comment that drugs and supplements SHOULD BE manufactured in the USA. Overseas manufacturers cannot be trusted. Unannounced FDA inspections of plants are the only way to insure we get safe products.

of coarse we should know where our meds are made and why are they made in America I know there are plenty of people to work in those factories . Why is the FDA putting all of our lives in danger. Faye Coronado

Do you know about this website? https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cder/ndc/index.cfm

I take ezetimibe and with one of my refills from my mail order company the company listed, on the Rx label, that showed up in this result was not longer authorized to import into the US. I haven’t found the address of the companies, but I feel a bit better if my company is listed in black.

I have always (75 years +/-) investigated everything I consumed as well as I could. BUT I RELIED ON THE FDA to check out pharmaceuticals. AMERICANS SHOULD STILL BE ABLE TO RELY ON FDA.

What your article informs us about is unconscionable. Many members of Congress are a waste of the space they occupy. It sounds like CRIMINAL INDIFFERENCE THAT members have not held FDA feet to the fire. After all, we are not talking here about salad greens! Members of Congress must take medications. If they do not care enough to check the purity and effectiveness of the drugs they use, why do we expect them to care about misfeasance by the FDA?

If all your subscribers gave their Congress members a little mid-term election prod,
perhaps we subscribers could actually provoke Congress to act and pass a law prohibiting the sale of unapproved (by the FDA) medications and supplements. I wonder how many American deaths per year can be accounted for by tainted pharmaceuticals. Of course, Congress needs to provide the funds needed to accomplish this safety requirement.

Of course we need to know country of origin of all components of ingestables/injectables/ topicals including food. And of course there needs to be more stringent FDA oversight, but it is still likely that post manufactured goods will be adultered/exchanged etc.
All products should be inspected after arriving in USA with sample batches checked with mass spectrometry to check for stated ingredients and contaminants.

Scary as hell !
A bad actor or negligent manufacturer could sicken or kill large swaths of populations before anyone figured out the cause. Our FDA needs to address this issue immediately. If not with production facility inspections, then with testing of ALL batches of imported pills. Cost more? Likely. No free lunch.

Some of my pills have been recalled. They are a product of China. Country of origin should be required on the bottle. I took me several hours to track it down.

YES! Consumers should have access to the country where their drugs are made!
I asked my pharmacy (CVS) for the information and I got it, plus the printout that showed the information. One drug on the list was made in India and there was a version of it made in the USA. She offered to order it for me. It took a couple of days, but it was well worth it.
I will continue to ask for this information for any drugs that I have to take.
I would love to know the info on the binders in each drug, as well. Time will tell if I am able to get that info as well.

Some years ago (16?) the country of manufacture was revealed for a generic I took, ranitidine. I had taken Nexium for ulcers. Nexium worked, without adverse effect, but the ulcers recurred and lacking the $2500 required for an endoscopy I was advised to take ranitidine. (Iatrogenic note: both times the ulcers occurred two weeks after cortisone shots for inflamed rotator cuffs.) Very quickly I developed diarrhea. I went to an urgent care clinic and explained what was happening. Before I went I looked on the folded paper in the ranitidine box and saw the county of manufacture was India. I asked the treating physician if that could explain the diarrhea. She said yes, that even though the essential ingredient was the same as in Zantac, the matrix would be different. Sure enough I stopped taking it and the problem went away.
Of course, Nexium is a PPI and Zantac is an H2 inhibitor, but my money is on the matrix being the culprit. I’ve taken Pepcid Complete, another H2 blocker, without problem.

Sadly our United States government cannot be counted on to protect the citizens anymore. They slowly have passed too many things to other countries. Disgusting as far as I am concerned. If they are foreign made, they should be much cheaper!

I am horrified when I read that our medicine is made in China, India, or a third-world country. There are fewer than 30 FDA “Inspectors,” and in my opinion, this is completely unacceptable, if not perhaps criminal. The US needs to bring back to the US, companies who make our medications, and not be concerned that medications fall into the category, Balance of Trade.”

I have stopped taking many medicines and supplements as my pharmacy includes the name, address and phone number of the foreign manufacturer on the back of the information sheet. If we stop buying, contact our Congressmen and Senators, urging them to delve in to how the FDA is run and correct the problems, one day perhaps we may re-gain our drug companies, although the generic Aspirin and other medications and supplements will cost more money than they do at present.

I take one zyflamend a day, right on the bottle it says made in the USA yes we should demand that ALL pills whether pharmaceutical or supplemental are labeled country of origin.

Big pharma gets away with murder. Managed care will only approve of generics, from what I can see. Who knows what garbage is being put in generics. I have BP pills and thyroid pills made in a foreign country and I’m sure most people do. I know this: When I was on Inderal and switched to the generic propranalol. they stopped working. Disgraceful!

When I purchase produce, I always check the country of origin. One of my policies is not to buy fruits and vegetables that are out of season in the U.S. It is so frightening to learn that our OTC supplements and our prescriptions can come from anywhere in the world. Contamination can occur even with scrupulous attention to cleanliness. Our little pills can be killing us while they’re helping us to live longer!

We should be able to know where our drugs come from.
I have asked the pharmacist and they don’t know, they said.

I believe our drugs should be made in facilities which are subject to surprise inspection and their chemical context checked. I a
So believe there should be fair pricing, which is not currently the case.

I think all medications prescription and OTC, sold in the U.S, should be manufactured in the U.S.
Why do we succumb to lower prices from foreign countries? We could make the medications here, put people to work and have the benefit of knowing how and where our medications are made.
Why are we paying salaries for the FDA? They don’t oversee the foreign manufacturing.

I’ve had this thought for years….we have labels that tell us where our clothes are made but something as important as medications are a mystery, and we’re supposed to trust this anonymity? I recently had a reason to inquire where a medication was made, called the company and was directed to three different people before one waffled at the question of where it was made saying ‘the box says it’s made in Canada, but that doesn’t mean the whole product was made in Canada’. This is a brand name item, no generic available, and was told it’s like Coke: it’s made in a lot of places with a standard recipe and it’s supposed to be made according to the manufacturer’s specifications and standards. How do we know that’s the case when it’s made in places that have questionable practices in other, less life impacting, industries?

Not being able to tell where pharmaceuticals are being made, and by what company, with some data about inspections and manufacturing safety, is a nightmare for consumers and doctors. Doctors, whose tradition credo “do no harm”, are actively in the position of doing harm every time they prescribe a medication whose sourcing and safety is unknown.

Nearly all pharmacies are now chain pharmacies doing business with regional drug distribution firms, which means they change drug sources based solely on cost (or profit, depending on your viewpoint). And, they don’t have to tell you – the consumer – about those changes.

I now routinely ask about every prescription I get: is it from the same source I’ve been using? where is it made? what do you know about that company? Sometimes I can find out the answers from a pharmacist and sometimes I can’t.

This means I have to spend hours on the computer searching for that information. Finding out where a drug being distributed by Accord is actually made, for example, is not easy – although with considerable preserverance you can do it if you find the right website.

Yes, the FDA should change all this. Will it? I doubt it – too much political money is represented by Big Pharma, especially in today’s political climate. So, I want to know why People’s Pharmacy doesn’t print the websites where consumers can actually find out about FDA warnings and recalls, where they can look up country of origin for a specific drug, etc. If I can find this stuff out then you can. I hope you will and will share it.

We require country of origin on most imported products. Why should drugs, medications, things ingested be any different? Can’t believe this important category has been ignored in terms of requiring country of origin (for all ingredients) on drugs & medications.

Let’s take action by talking to our politicians, AARP, medical professionals, etc. and gathering names to get this going. It’s waaaaay overdue!!!!!

PS: Do not get ‘Big Pharma’ involved in this movement…..

I agree with your proposal: FDA should require labeling of the country of origin of API and country of the manufacturing facility. It’s outrageous that we as consumers cannot know where medications come from. We know where our shirt is made, but not something we put into our body?

Thank you so much for this important article on a very important subject. I would hope that we can pass a law requiring country of origin for our medications and supplements. The more people ask, the more traction this idea will get. I recently purchased a generic drug from Walgreens and notice that the product’s origin as India. I took it back, but now I’m thinking that nothing is safe from this globalization (really freedom from regulations) of trade.

I WANT TO KNOW THE COUNTRY ORIGIN OF ANYTHING THAT I CONSUME OR USE. IT IS MY BODY AND MY HOME AND I WOULD HOPE THAT THE ORIGIN IS NOT CONSIDERED “TOP SECRET”. THANK YOU

I take no prescription drugs. Don’t trust any of them. I was in rather bad shape several years ago and prescription drugs only made matters worse. I see a certified natural health consultant and take vitamins, minerals and herbs from Nature’s Sunshine, a high quality American company in Utah.

Aspirin uses a synthetic similar to salicin from white willow bark. I use the white willow bark.

Following the above routine most likely saved my life.

In medical lingo; I would present as a 72-year-old, Caucasian male with a history of numerous medical problems including cancer, stroke, heart arrhythmia, ulcerative colitis, and pinched spinal nerves – not to mention the usual conditions of aging. Obviously, i take a lot of medications regularly as well as prn. Virtually all my meds come from the same pharmacy. Keeping track of scheduling, drug interactions, side effects and efficacy is like a full time job. Many are generic & the same drug may appear different from one script to the next requiring checking to be sure I’m getting the correct drug.
From my personal experience, I can tell you, THERE IS A DIFFERENCE. It would be greatly reassuring to know that all drugs, regardless of origin, are made under the most stringent set of rules, regulations and quality control possible. The patient has no way of knowing the difference and must rely on regulating authorities. Unannounced inspections of the facilities making them should be made the highest priority.

Big Pharma does not act responsibly in providing information to US citizens about the source & quality of the drugs they purchase. US citizens are not informed when foreign drug makers are warned about not meeting quality standards. Quality oversight is non-existent or inadequate. Again it seems Big Pharma shoves the burden of quality control on the consumer who ingests their products that are a mashup of ingredients from all China, India & other countries that are not known for quality control. Big Pharma needs more oversight to protect US citizens.

I think it’s imperative that all pharmaceutical be manufactured and distributed in the USA. With the lax protocols of these other countries, i think it’s high time that we take the well-being of the American people into consideration when prescribing meds, etc.

It seems like our current government is concerned about the abuses of overseas products with the exclusion of our medical supplies.
I have noticed for years that very few over the counter, generic or even brand name prescriptions are made in the USA.
This is definitely a health hazard! And with recent cut backs from our current administration with the FDA, what protections do Americans on medication have?

It appears that Congress needs to pass a law that requires OTC drug companies to label the country of origin of the drug’s active ingredient plus label the country of manufacture on the drug container.

Start writing or calling your US elected officials as well as your State officials.

As long as the co.own our politician nothing can be done as a friend use to say Monet talks and bull shit walks God help us.

Several years ago I worked with a person who was from the Middle East. He told me that he had friends who worked at a Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Company overseas.
He said,”when they ran out of ‘active ingredient’,that they just kept the manufacturing lines running as normal”!

I’d rather pay to have my medications made in the USA under FDA guide/inspections.

I have been concerned with the origin of pills (over the counter and prescription) since the L-trytophan deaths in 1990. They were manufactured in Japan, a country that would seem to have similar high standards as the US. Something went wrong and it seemed to have been quietly dismissed. I buy most of my pills from Trader Joe’s and called their headquarters years ago to know if any of the pills they sold were manufactured in China. I was told they were all US. That was years ago and things may have changed. I’m going to call them again and see if that is still the case.

Most important that we know where our pills are made. l have gotten meds that were no longer sold in other countries but shipped to the USA. Its bad enough that you get meds that have bad side effects. Drug inspections, out of country , that are on the ‘honor system’ for inspection are a joke.

I take four generic med’s and I’m am very diligent as to who manufactures these and country of origin. One of the companies I trust is TEVA they are a multi- national company headquartered in Israel. When I pick up my med’s before I leave the Pharmacy I look and see who the manufacturer is and there are certain ones I will refuse to accept. You have to do this before you leave the pharmacy as drugs cannot be returned at lease in Missouri. In this article you mention several companies that I will not accepted there med’s. I have contacted both CVS and Walgreens headquarters and expressed my feelings about the companies and countries they source from for whatever it’s worth. Bottom line is our major Insurance companies and pharmacy chains in the USA could care less where these med’s come from it’s all about ” HOW CHEAP CAN WE BUY THE PRODUCT”.
The one solution is for the FEDERAL government to put laws into place that protect the consumer and Identify who produced the drugs and where all the components country of origin. This is somewhat of a joke trying to accomplish this as the FDA will not enforce the origin of where I meat we eat comes from (China produces over 25% of our Chicken). We also must put the demand on the insurance companies this is who started the generic cheap drugs business for there own profitable benefit.
There is a lot of pharmaceutical company information on the internet that one can use for their own research.

I was having issues with the Clonazepam I always filled at Walgreens. Turns out they’d changed mfg so I switched to CVS to stay w one that much worked better for me.
Then, doc prescribed another med, an antidepressant. When I asked her about discrepancies in manufacturers, she said to try for one made in US. At the pharmacy I asked. They were about to fill w one from China. Uh..Nope.
But they did have one made in US, so I went w that one. We must stat vigilant!

It’s more than ridiculous that Congress and the FDA can’t ensure that we have safe medications! Why is it so difficult to find out what is exactly in our daily medication? I would like to know where my medications are being made, what’s in them to include binders and fillers. Why should this be a “secret” ? What if you have an allergy to these excipients or inactive ingredients!

My doctor has switched me from Valsartan from China that was recalled to: Losartan which is manufactured by MaCleods. Not sure of spelling. After my asking and much research, my drug provider found that the drug came from S. Africa, Saudi Arabia and Uganda. She reassured me that it was FDA approved. I have not received it yet in the mail and am leary about it.

We might not know where our drugs are made or if they will harm us but at least it’s good to know that the drug company that sells them made an extra .05 per share last quarter.

absolutely place of origin should be included on packaging

If companies would manufacture these products in this country under FDA inspections, I would pay a premium for them. Why doesn’t one step up and do this? I think they would be rewarded.

I am recovering from cancer and have been on Valsartan for years. It’s time to pass laws to protect us from dangerous drug manufacturing. We need our government to intervene on our behalf. To maintain quality control and manufacture drugs in the United States controlling cost. The health of our nation is at stake. Big pharm is to big!

If a country wanted to slowly weaken the people of the U.S., they could put anything in our prescriptions, over the counter medicine, and vitamins and we would never know it. I know this sounds far fetched but we do not know what they are using. Our government needs to do more to protect us.

As a starter, I think that the FDA should be routinely testing products off the USA shelves. Once a problem is spotted, then the recalls can begin, and investigations started.

I agree with labeling the countries for the API and formulating.
I think I’ll write my senator and assemblyman today.

Thank you for this opportunity to provide my opinion. If we have “laws” which require identification of where our clothing and cars are manufactured, it only makes sense that a more important item such as medications should also have labels. Why would any pharmaceutical company say it is a secret unless they were trying to hide it from concerned consumers?

Yes everything should labeled as country of origin, specially drugs which are important for our health.

FDA and congress mus make laws to mandate this requirement

All I really care about is whether my stocks stay up. let them eat cake.

I think all our prescriptions should be made and sold right here in the USA. No
alternatives!

Where pills are made should be clearly marked on the bottle, as well as where the ingredients come from. There should be a rule that makes this mandatory.

I have been sharing this information for a long time. I questioned the safety of any pills or shots. We really have no idea what is actually in them. Where is the oversight?

I was appalled to read on the People’s Pharmacy app that my blood pressure med, ,Valsartan, was contaminated
with
a probable carcinogen. I had been taking it for about 5 yrs and had already been treated for colon cancer .
I talked to the Walgreens pharmacist and showed her your app. She was non
plussed and said to call my MD. I did call her and they too weren’t very concerned. She sent me an RX for
Irbesartan which seems to be fine.
Any info on this drug I should know about? I’m very distrustful about these
Two entities since I had to notify them
Instead of them notifying me. It was on the news about two days later. I strongly recommend the FDA step up
And help enact laws to protect US from
Dangerous and shoddy overseas manufacturing!

My mother was taking Mylan brand Extended Release Sinemet for Parkinson’s when her pharmacy switched brand to Sun Pharm. I noticed she seemed confused and unable to focus. Because the only factor that had changed was starting a new bottle of Sinemet, I checked the label and noted the change. I had the pharmacy refill immediately with Mylan, and she returned to normal. This past week, she had to take Sun Pharm again for a few days because the pharmacy said Mylan was back ordered. She again exhibited marked confusion and lack of focus until switching to a third brand, Accord. She seems ok on this brand.

After reading your article, I immediately examined the various dietary supplements I purchase here in the UK and where they were manufactured. I was surprised to read that they do show the country of origin. Here are some examples:
Gingko & Ginseng: Made in the UK.
Peppermint Oil: Made in Switzerland.
Turmeric: Made in France.
Co-enzyme Q10: Made in Switzerland.

I take some prescribed medication, as follows:
Lansoprazole: Made in Iceland with manufacturer’s name.
Levothyroxine: made in the UK with manufacturers name.

If you decide to publish my comments, it would be appreciated if you could inform me.

Many thanks.

I recently had a refill of a prescription and found out it was made in India. I refused it and asked for one made outside of Asia. Everything they offered was unacceptable because it came from Asia. I researched it and found one made in Israel. The pharmacy told me it would cost me $200. I went to another pharmacy and asked them to find it. They did and I was able to get it although it was a different dosage and I had to ask my doctor to write another prescription for it. The cost was $5.00. It took some time to get it but it was possible with the help of the second pharmacy.

PG

Ok I can go to the fish market and choose not to buy fish farm raised in Indonesia because it is labled. I choose wild caught in Canada or USA ii is labled. But I do not have this choice with my medicines. What is wrong with this picture people???

Personally I would not take medicine or vitamins if they were made in a foreign country. A law needs to be passed so we can make informed decisions

This is an easy one. The FDA should be aggressively inspecting all drugs at point of manufacture. That would allow all ingredients contained within to be tested on a regular basis, without notifications. In addition, one might frame this as a national security issue as well. If we should be in a heightened adversarial situation with China, for instance, China could use their control of the drug manufacturing market to hold the U.S. (or other countries) hostage. Imagine the chaos and danger this would create. We must completely rethink this subject. Our vulnerabilities here are much too great.

Our medicines need to be made here under our conditions. These foreign countries lack health standards and lord knows what leeches into them. China is probably the worst for dangerous chemicals in products.

Absolutely we should know who and where are drugs are coming from the FDA is not protecting the citizens of the United States as it should

CRIMINAL. It is criminal what is happening pertaining to pill sale in the USA. The newest crime on patients: ‘we can’t give you the name of the manufacturer or place of manufacturing. ‘ i have taken some heart meds and unfortunately due to severe RA and osteoporosis lortab.
1) I as a seriously chronically ill senior am treated like a criminal drug addict. 2) I have no choice as to which generic.3) generics change month to month. Some pills don’t work. The next dosage knocks you out or makes your BP drop to 80/40. I can simg a sad somg about inconsistency of ingredients in pills.
I took 1 specific generic company’s pill for 7 yrs and ask why I can’t get their drug here any more. They are a few miles away from my home in the same state. They say: we get hundreds of calls. We have an allotments. We can’t help you get it any more. So instead of getting the generic which has worked for years I get this chalky pill from some tiny obscure company in MUMBAY India. Anyone ever been there? I have. It is one of the filthiest most lawless places of the world. American pharmaceutical companies produce in the last holes of the world and give it to patients in the usa, collecting huge amounts from insurance moneys which the patient or gov pays for. Yes I see what they get for each prescription. Money money money is king. I fell really ill from the newest one( in my stomach). Pharmacist: ‘ I can’t do anything about it. This is what we get. Can’t order another one.’ Other pharmacy’s pharmacist:’ it’s about money. We have to take the cheapest.’ Next pharmacy: ‘ we can’t fill the prescription of lortab because we don’t want to get on the list.’ My doc wrote the specific generic on the prescription. 4 pharmacies say: we can’t order. We have to take what our distributor gives us. I guess DOCTORS, ILL PATIENTS HAVE NO SAY.
When will anyone do anything to take the side of patients. It’s all about money. One pharmasist: ‘we get monthly new companies popping up in india producing pills. We don’t know what’s in it.’
Is this INSANITY? Slowly killing AMERICANS with pill import?
I have very consciously reduced all pills attempting to get off them all. This of course is a health boomerang, too. I am truly frustrated. How unfair that there is NO government agency protecting the ones that actually need meds to continue to function. No…. Everyone talks about drug addicts and helping them and meanwhile those who are ill have no forum.
I worked all my life and do have some very much debilitating chronic conditions. Now that I am old I guess no one cares that people are killed with crap from india.

Why isn’t the Freedom of Information Act applicable to drug companies? Why is the public not allowed to get this information? It’s a disgrace. I only take vitamins and benedryl; I would imagine Walmart gets their stock from the cheapest place they can; it’s no wonder that pills we take make us sicker instead of healthier. All in the name of corporate wealth.

* Be nice, and don't over share. View comment policy^