Be aware, there is some concern with generic drugs
By Dr. Veita Bland
Currently, when all of us are trying to watch our expenses, many people are cutting costs by choosing off-brands for many of the things we use. We may get a house brand when we go to our favorite grocery store thinking it is just as good as the name brand. In most cases it can be comparable but in others the quality is just not there.
Sometimes we will buy an off-brand phone or other electronic device preferring not to spend all that money on a top of the line product. If it is a phone, that may be all you need to make calls and texts. If it is a speaker or other electronic equipment, the sound may not be the best, but it is okay for the purpose of listening to most of your musical selections.
When we think of our medications, most of us are okay with a generic or off-brand. As you know, generic medications are drugs that are so old, they have lost their patent. That patent protects a medication and says that it is made in a manner that has been tested and we know exactly how much of the medication that is in the drug. We know the all-important parameters of how that medication will be absorbed in the body and that it is of a good quality in the way it was manufactured.
Of late, we have seen a slew of generic medications that have had their manufacturing processes altered by generic companies. This has resulted in carcinogens being formed during the making of the medications. The alterations in the process are usually done to make the drug cheaper and thus increase the profits for generic companies.
This has been particularly a problem seen in foreign made generics, especially from China and India. These companies should be inspected by our FDA to make sure they are manufacturing the medications in a proper manner. Unfortunately, the number of inspections of these foreign facilities has declined.
What is in some cases even more alarming is that some of these medications are not effective. They are not absorbed properly. If you are taking medications and they are not manufactured to be effectively absorbed, this is an even more dangerous problem.
Health care providers are beginning to recognize more and more that a patient may have received a bad batch of medication that is not effective. This can be particularly catastrophic when we see this happen in heart medications or in endocrine medications for thyroid or diabetic problems. I have seen it in hypertensive products where there has been loss of control of blood pressure due to a bad batch of medication.
More and more health care providers and their patients are asking the question of where were these generics manufactured? Were they manufactured here in this country where the FDA has policies and procedures in effect to ensure quality or were they manufactured in countries such as China or India, where those manufacturing standards are not as rigorously followed?
You can look at the label on your prescription and tell who made your medication. With a little detective work or by asking your pharmacist or in some cases it is printed on the bottle, you can tell if your medication was made in the U.S. or in another country. Look for and ask for generics that are manufactured in the U.S. Safeguard your health.
Dr. Veita Bland is a board-certified Greensboro physician and hypertension specialist. Dr. Bland’s radio show, “It’s a Matter of Your Health,” can be heard live on Wednesdays, 5:30 p.m. on N.C. A&T State University’s WNAA, 90.1 FM. Listeners may call in and ask questions. The show is replayed on Sirius 142 at 5 p.m. on Wed. Email Dr. Bland at email@example.com.