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Fact: 80 percent of U.S. pharmaceuticals made with overseas ingredients, nearly half produced in foreign facilities never inspected by FDA

Wednesday, January 18, 2012 by: Ethan A. Huff, staff writer
Tags: pharmaceuticals, foreign factories, ingredients

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(NaturalNews) Big Pharma advocates (the few that exist outside the corrupt government structure and the drug industry itself) regularly defend the industry with claims that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) maintains strict regulatory protocols that ensure safety. But a new report reveals that not only are most drug ingredients sourced from unregulated foreign sources, but nearly half of all drug production facilities are located overseas, most of which have never been inspected by FDA.

Issued by the US Government Accountability Office, the new report says up to 40 percent of all pharmaceuticals sold in the US are actually manufactured overseas in countries like India and China. A whopping 80 percent of all ingredients used to manufacture drugs, including those manufactured in the US, reportedly come from overseas as well. And the FDA has inspected a mere 11 percent of all foreign drug manufacturing facilities, as opposed to the 40 percent it has inspected domestically.

As of 2007, there were an estimated 152 registered drug manufacturing facilities in Canada, 299 in Indian, and 566 in China, which together total 1,017 facilities. However, FDA has only conducted 368 inspections among these countries and their drug manufacturing facilities, which means 649 facilities have never received an inspection. And if these 368 inspections include multiple inspections at the same facility, then that number is even lower.

This is all shocking news, of course, considering the volume of drugs that is now produced overseas. The common over-the-counter (OTC) pain drug aspirin, for instance, is almost entirely produced in China. The acid reflux drug Prilosec (omeprazole), is also manufactured primarily in Puerto Rico and India, according to the report.

For years, drug companies have been shutting down domestic drug manufacturing facilities and moving production overseas. A 2009 report in The New York Times explains that most of the ingredients used for manufacturing critical drugs like antibiotics, allergy medicines, diabetes medications, and high blood pressure medications, are now almost exclusively produced in either China or India (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/20/health/policy/20drug.html).

And what is even more disturbing is the growing number of people that are seriously injured or killed because of tainted drugs produced overseas -- and how little has been done to address this problem. In 2008, for instance, it was reported that at least 81 people in the US died from a tainted heparin drug produced in India. The drug contained an ingredient that had been sourced from, you guessed it, China (http://www.safemedicines.org/counterfeit-heparin-blamed-for-worldwide-deaths.html).

Sources for this article include:

http://www.alternet.org/story/153713/do_you_know_where_your_medicine_came_from_over_40_of_pills_made_overseas_--_many_in_unregulated_factories
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