The epic inside story of long-term criminal fraud at Ranbaxy, the Indian drug company that makes generic Lipitor for millions of Americans.
Dirty Medicine – The Ranbaxy drug debacle
TL;DR: If you use generic drugs, you may want to find out where they are from. If they’re from Ranbaxy or Dr. Reddy’s, both in India, find a different provider for your health’s sake.
In a conference call with a dozen company executives, one brushed aside … fears about the quality of the AIDS medicine Ranbaxy was supplying for Africa. “Who cares?” he said, … “It’s just blacks dying.”
This is shocking enough, but you ain’t seen nothing yet.
This recent article over at CNN Money raised all sorts of red flags for me this morning. It’s fairly long, but I read every word, and what I read left me shaken, not stirred. I would recommend reading it in its entirety.
I take two generic drugs provided to me via Welldyne RX, my company’s bulk drug provider, and I started doing some research. I discovered that one was made by Sun Pharmaceuticals, and the other by Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories, both based in India.
After having read the Ranbaxy article, and digging in to the various generic manufacturers of the drugs I take, it became clear that it’s not just the Russian Business Network selling counterfeit or low-quality drugs, but the legitimate pharmaceutical providers, each of whom has a byzantine network of providers and producers which make guaranteeing quality extremely difficult.
Here’s are the manufacturers I found at drugs.com for generic omeprazole 20mg, which I take for recurring GERD:
- MYLAN 6150 MYLAN 6150 (Omeprazole 20 mg) – Mylan (USA)
In 2007, Mylan acquired a controlling interest in India-based Matrix Laboratories Limited, a top producer of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) for generic drugs, and the generics business of Germany-based Merck KGaA
- OME 20 OME 20 (Omeprazole 20 mg) – Sandoz (Germany)
- 20 (Omeprazole 20 mg) – Major Pharmaceuticals (USA?)
- 082 IMPAX 20 (Omeprazole 20 mg) – Teva (Israel)
- KU 118 (Omeprazole delayed release 20 mg) – Kremers Urban (USA)
- APO 020 (Omeprazole delayed release 20 mg) – Apotex (Canada)
- OMEPRAZOLE 20mg R158 (Omeprazole delayed release 20 mg) – Dr. Reddy’s (India) – this is the one dispensed to me by WellDyne RX.
- 20 (Omeprazole Delayed Release 20 mg) – Perrigo
- OMP 20 (Omeprazole magnesium delayed-release 20 mg (base)) – Dr. Reddy’s (India)
- ZA 10 20 mg (Omeprazole delayed-release 20 mg) – Zydus (India)
- P (Prilosec otc 20 mg) – AstraZeneca (UK)
- 607 PRILOSEC 20 (Prilosec 20 mg) – Merck (Germany)
- 742 PRILOSEC 20 (Prilosec 20 mg) – AstraZeneca (UK)
Looking at these manufacturers and their supply chains, it would be difficult to know whether any medication is actually made in the USA without further digging. Many, many paths lead to India, and given the mind-bending history of corruption, fraud, abuse, mismanagement and outright criminal skullduggery uncovered at Ranbaxy, I am very leery of any medications that come from over there, even in part. Ranbaxy is still in operation, controlled in large part by Japanese firm Daiichi Sankyo.
Some source articles:
For the Record, Sun Pharmaceuticals works out of India, but thus far seems free of complaints or black marks. But the entire landscape makes me nervous. Tomorrow I call WellDyne Rx to see if I can get my meds sourced from the USA.
The Old Wolf has Spoken.