Thursday, August 9, 2007

Counterfeit Drugs In Our System

Wow - I saw the Dateline video piece ", called "Bitter Pill" on Counterfeit Drugs coming to the US from China - some containing wallboard and arsenic. Apparently counterfeiters are also bringing in counterfeit medications from the Middle East too, and that has people nervous about the possibility of medical terrorism.

Now this begs the question.. for all of those folks like LEAP, who say that making illegal drugs legal in this country - like Heroin, Marijuana and Cocaine.. would stop the gangs and crime in the same way it crushed the black market for booze after prohibition.. somehow I am becoming very very skeptical of that notion, since counterfeiting is happening with "legal prescription medication" which is supposed to be highly regulated by the FDA and drug makers. Looks like drugs are going to attract crime - whether they are legal and controlled, or not.

Apparently counterfeiters of prescription medications are making millions of dollars, while people are dying because they think they are getting the real drugs from their local pharmacy.

All kinds of medications are being copied and there are no assurances at this time that the drug you are buying contains exactly what it is supposed to contain. That is really pretty scary. At least it gave me a moment's pause when I went to the pharmacy to get some Tylenol with Codeine for my son who had dental surgery yesterday. (No worries, He's ok thanks). But really what assurances do we have when we go to buy prescription meds? Can we even take our pharmacists word for it that the drugs are o.k. because most pharmacists may not even detect counterfeit drugs, since counterfeiters really do a great job, according to Dateline.

So someday will millions of Americans wake up and take their cholesterol medication only to be poisoned by Middle Eastern Terrorists? It isn't so far fetched apparently.
What exactly are government agencies and drug manufacturers doing to protect consumers?
Answer: RFID chips on bottles.

How long before the chips are counterfeited too?

As Consumers we have a real problem on our hands, and yet one more thing that government will be relied upon to "protect us" from.


P Henry said...

How long before the chips are counterfeited too?

Oh that happened a loooonnnngggg time ago.

Counterfeited chips (integrated circuits) has been a long standing problem.

Recently discovered some myself, not to long ago. Trail stopped at Hong Kong and went cold.

Quite frankly as someone involved in quality assurance, I am shocked that companies are getting caught with their pants down with shoddy consumer goods coming out of China.

Lead paint used on children's toys, COME ON, that is like so 1960s.

Judy Aron said...

P Henry thanks for your comment -
Well the counterfeiting of RFID chips doesn't surprise me..

Neither does the fact that shoddy (and even poisonous) goods are being imported to the US by various companies from China.

As they say -
"Caveat Emptor"
(Latin for "Let the buyer beware".)

The only problem with that is we do have little choice in stores as Chinese goods monopolize the market place. Just try and find something not Made in China ...