Most prescription drugs manufactured overseas—are they safe?

September 10, 2012, Canadian Medical Association Journal

Most pharmaceutical drugs in Canada are manufactured overseas in countries such as India, China and others, yet how can we be confident the drug supply is safe, writes a drug policy researcher in an opinion piece in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

Alarmed by alerts about potentially harmful products such as nonprescription erectile dysfunction drugs with names like Uprizing 2.0 and Ying Da Wang—most from overseas—Alan Cassels began to think about sold in Canada. Are they safe? Who regulates them?

"Most Canadians probably don't know that many of our pharmaceuticals come from places like India and China," writes Cassels. "How often do our regulators dust off their passports and fly to China or India to ensure that the plants producing pharmaceuticals are clean, follow proper manufacturing techniques and contain what is on the label (and nothing else)?"

He was unable to find out much from Health Canada because information about inspections is not public.

"This situation doesn't leave me with the warm fuzzies," he writes. "Especially when we're dealing with—how can I say this nicely—a federal agency that refuses to even enforce the laws against illegal on a bus shelter at the end of my street?"

Explore further: CMAJ calls on federal government to protect Canadians from unsafe drugs

More information: www.cmaj.ca/lookup/doi/10.1503/cmaj.120416

Related Stories

CMAJ calls on federal government to protect Canadians from unsafe drugs

April 18, 2011
Canada needs to modernize its pharmaceutical drug laws to ensure that new drugs as well as older drugs are safe for Canadians, states an editorial in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

Safe prescribing information for children in Canada often hard to find

June 13, 2011
Accurate, safe prescribing information for children is often unavailable to doctors in Canada because pharmaceutical companies will not disclose information to Health Canada, states an editorial in CMAJ (Canadian Medical ...

Canadians should demand commitments for pharmacare program, says CMAJ

April 26, 2011
Canada needs a national pharmacare program and federal leaders must commit adequate funding, states an editorial in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

Female feticide in Canada requires action

January 16, 2012
Canada should prohibit disclosure of the sex of a fetus until after 30 weeks of pregnancy to combat female feticide which is practised by some ethnic groups in Canada and the United States, states an editorial in CMAJ (Canadian ...

Pharmaceutical intellectual property laws need reform

November 7, 2011
Canada's pharmaceutical intellectual property laws need major reform to encourage and protect innovation in developing new drugs, states an analysis in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

Recommended for you

In most surgery patients, length of opioid prescription, number of refills spell highest risk for misuse

January 17, 2018
The possible link between physicians' opioid prescription patterns and subsequent abuse has occupied the attention of a nation in the throes of an opioid crisis looking for ways to stem what experts have dubbed an epidemic. ...

Patients receive most opioids at the doctor's office, not the ER

January 16, 2018
Around the country, state legislatures and hospitals have tightened emergency room prescribing guidelines for opioids to curb the addiction epidemic, but a new USC study shows that approach diverts attention from the main ...

FDA bans use of opioid-containing cough meds by kids

January 12, 2018
(HealthDay)—Trying to put a dent in the ongoing opioid addiction crisis, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Thursday slapped strict new restrictions on the use of opioid-containing cold and cough products by kids.

Taking ibuprofen for long periods found to alter human testicular physiology

January 9, 2018
A team of researchers from Denmark and France has found that taking regular doses of the pain reliever ibuprofen over a long period of time can lead to a disorder in men called compensated hypogonadism. In their paper published ...

Nearly one-third of Canadians have used opioids: study

January 9, 2018
Nearly one in three Canadians (29 percent) have used "some form of opioids" in the past five years, according to data released Tuesday as widespread fentanyl overdoses continue to kill.

Growing opioid epidemic forcing more children into foster care

January 8, 2018
The opioid epidemic has become so severe it's considered a national public health emergency. Addiction to prescription painkillers, such as oxycodone and morphine, has contributed to a dramatic rise in overdose deaths and ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.