Substandard Drugs: New Report Shines Light on Prescription Drug Epidemic – False Medications Hurt and Kill People


Substandard Drugs: New Report Shines Light on Prescription Drug Epidemic – False Medications Hurt and Kill People

Drug manufacturers in the United States are the cause of many personal injuries and wrongful deaths, and it’s not news: consider the past 2004 headlines dealing with arthritis drug Vioxx, for example.  Big Pharma is known to market drugs and pharmaceuticals that hurt people.

However, there’s another twist to drugs prescribed for people to heal them, help them get better, or deal with symptoms like stopping pain.  Patients can be taking drugs that they trust to help them, which are twisted in some way.  Like the drugs that came from the Massachusetts compounding lab that dispensed bad pain medication resulting in a national meningitis outbreak.

In 2011, the nation was shocked by new studies that revealed prescription drug deaths exceed the number of deaths due to traffic fatalities in this country.  This is a growing problem that is far from being solved.

In fact, the prescription drug crisis is now extremely serious.  This month, the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies introduced a new report on the latest twist to the drug death epidemic we are facing entitled, ” Countering the Problem of Falsified and Substandard Drugs.”

In the new report, backed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Institute of Medicine explains that these fake and sub-par medications either don’t help the patient because they’re too weak or inept to do any good, or they are unsafe in some way.  The Massachusetts compounding lab event is used as an example of this problem, where the Institute tallies that the pain medication that was sold by the Massachusetts pharmacy ended up killing 44 people from September 2012 to January 2013.

While many of these false drugs and substandard medications are being sold in other countries (Asia has a huge problem with them right now), there are those that warn of buying drugs across any national line.  Canadian prescriptions or pet medications bought online may be cheaper, but the product may be powerless to help or downright dangerous.

If you think that you may have been hurt by a medication, then it’s the responsible thing to check out your hunch.  Don’t be intimidated by fancy packaging, the company name (famous makers can still be bad actors), or a visit to the doctor.  Save the packaging, save the medication, but trust your intuition and get medical care if you think that you or a loved one has been hurt, seriously injured, or tragically killed by a prescription medication.  While a lawyer will be needed to evaluate your legal claim, making sure of your personal health and the safety of your family with a trusted physician must come first.

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From the FDA:

FDA Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg’s Statement on the Institute of Medicine’s Report “Countering the Problem of Falsified and Substandard Drugs”

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration commends the Institute of Medicine (IOM) for its thorough discussion and recommendations outlined in its report, “Countering the Problem of Falsified and Substandard Drugsdisclaimer icon.” The report identifies causes and public health consequences of substandard and falsified drugs and recommends a range of strategies to address the problem and to promote global dialogue and action.

The IOM report spotlights a critical global public health issue. Falsified and substandard medicines adversely affect the lives of millions around the world, and the issue must be elevated to the highest levels of international discourse.

In order to meet the challenges of today’s global marketplace, the FDA is transforming from a predominantly domestically focused agency to one that is fully prepared to help ensure product safety and quality within a globalized world. In this context, many of the IOM recommendations support actions and efforts already underway at the FDA, including advancing technology, strengthening global regulatory capacity, strengthening surveillance, developing science-based standards and engaging in global dialogue.

The FDA engages in numerous efforts to combat substandard, falsely-labeled and counterfeit medical products globally. These include overseas presence in 12 countries in seven regions; active engagement with the World Health Organization’s new Member State Mechanism; and participation in the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Regulatory Harmonization Steering Committee (RHSC) roadmap aimed at improving global medical product quality and supply chain integrity. In 2011, the FDA added to these efforts by commissioning the IOM to undertake the study released today.

The FDA recognizes that all countries need to work together to ensure safe medicinal products for their citizens due to the increasing complexity of the global economy. The FDA remains committed to engaging with multiple stakeholder groups to advance global solutions and minimize exposure of consumers to unsafe products.

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