How pure are prescription drugs? Prepare for a shock

Drugs are reliable. Supplements are risky.

That’s one of the primary arguments against the use of supplements.

Again and again we hear it from medical mainstreamers. Following their rock solid belief in conventional medicine, they tell us that we have no idea what we’re REALLY getting in a supplement. After all, supplements aren’t even regulated by the FDA.

But pharmaceuticals? They’re regulated. They’re pure. They’re 100 percent dependable.

Oh really???

Regrets, they’ve had a few…

This past May, when Johnson & Johnson recalled 40 varieties of children’s cold medicines due to bacteria contamination and other problems, the company closed the plant that manufactured the drugs.

Isolated incident? They wish.

Late last month, GlaxoSmithKline paid out $750 million to settle a criminal and civil complaint stemming from problems at a large manufacturing plant in Puerto Rico that produced many GSK products. The New York Times reports that the plant was “rife with contamination” for years.

At one time, about $5.5 billion worth of GSK products were manufactured there yearly, including Paxil, Avandia, Tagamet, and other best selling drugs. In addition to contamination, some lots of Paxil were actually missing the active ingredient. In other words, they were inadvertently making and selling placebo pills (at full price, of course!).

The lawsuit also reveals that an FDA inspection missed most of the problems at the plant. GSK promised to fix the problems that were caught, but then didn’t follow through.

There’s your good, solid FDA regulation and dependable drug purity–out the window!

In a statement from GSK, executives expressed regrets about violating good manufacturing practices.

I’ll bet that’s the least of their regrets.

Eight years ago they sent their quality manager, Cheryl D. Eckard, to Puerto Rico. After examining the plant with a team of quality control experts, Eckard reported multiple violations, including contamination in the water and air systems, and a lack of sterility of some intravenous drugs.

When Eckard pressed senior managers to recall certain lots of drugs, they not only ignored her, they fired her.

That turned out to be a $750 million blunder.

Eckard filed a whistleblower lawsuit against the company. All the beans were spilled. The plant was closed in 2009. Eckard won her suit last month and will collect a $96 million award.

You know as well as I do that it likely doesn’t stop at GSK and Johnson & Johnson. The industry that we always knew was dirty in its marketing, research and business practices adds manufacturing to the list.

For once, I’m thrilled to know supplements aren’t regulated the way drugs are. Makes me feel so much better about taking them!

Sources:
“Glaxo to Pay $750 Million for Sale of Bad Products”  Gardiner Harris and Duff Wilson, New York Times, 10/27/10,  nytimes.com

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