Shabby Standards

Bryan A.  Liang, MD, PhD, JD

Earlier this week, I talked about India’s opposition to IMPACT’s proposed definition of a counterfeit medicine.  Indian “experts” claimed it would hurt their generic drug industry’s exports, and I asked just who these “experts” were protecting if the IMPACT’s focus was only non-legitimate producers.

Now we have a better idea. Ranbaxy Laboratories, India’s largest pharmaceutical company and one of the world’s largest producers of generic drugs, is facing allegations by the U.S. Justice Department and the Food and Drug Administration that it manufactured substandard generic drugs and forged documents to cover it up.

Investigations like this illustrate why it is so important that consumers purchase prescription drugs from a trusted pharmacy that only sells FDA-approved drugs. As the Financial Times pointed out, in countries such as India, there are different standards for the drugs made for domestic use than for those destined for export. Exported drugs are typically subject to far tougher regulatory scrutiny.

A true generic drug is a copy that is the same as a brand-name drug in dosage, safety, strength, how it is taken, and its quality, performance and intended use. It is regulated by appropriate government authorities. There are accountable manufacturers that stand behind these drugs.

A huge source of drugs that are not regulated and untrustworthy are those purchased online from non-accredited sources. Use only VIPPS accredited online pharmacies if buying over the Internet, as we have emphasized in the past. Drug forms that claim to be generic but are not regulated or are being sold by non-accredited pharmacies can result in no treatment for the disease, harm, or death.

Visit to learn the safest ways to buy medications online and how to save money on your prescription drugs costs without increasing your risk of buying a counterfeit drug.