How many times have you popped a pill thinking that it will ease the pain and help you feel better? But does it? Have you thought about who makes the pills, how they are made, and do the people making them care more for your health than their bottom-lines? When investigative journalist Katherine Eban set out on a mission to find out why the drugs and medicines in circulation in the USA were making people feel worse rather than better, she discovered some shocking results about the Indian pharma industry.
In her book Bottle of Lies, Eban relies on over 20,000 FDA documents and interviews with over 240 people to show how fraud and trickery are deeply entrenched in much of the industry in India, and raises troubling questions about some of its biggest names – Ranbaxy, Wockhardt, Dr Reddy’s, Glenmark and RPG Life Sciences. These Indian pharma companies are the largest producers of ‘generic’ drugs – less expensive versions of brand-name drugs, made legally after the patents on the medications have lapsed. Roughly 40 percent of America’s generic drugs are manufactured in India.
The facts and telling excerpts from the book will shock you. Here are three things you need to be aware of, before you make the assumption that your medicines are helping you get better:
Our drugs are contaminated
From shards of glass in your cholesterol medicine to live bugs in your high blood pressure pill, there are numerous instances of negligence on the part of drug manufacturing companies like Ranbaxy, Dr Reddy’s and Glenmark to name a few.
“… only ten months after Ranbaxy began its lucrative launch of atorvastatin, the company made a staggering admission to the FDA. It had discovered that some of the millions of pills already dispensed to patients across the United States were suffused with tiny shards of blue glass.”
Our drugs are ineffective
Are brand and generic drugs truly interchangeable with one another? Is the quality of a generic drug sold in India the same as one sold in the US? Pharma companies make their drugs based on the recipient countries testing protocols and what kind of regulations they have. Moreover, several generic drugs have had either adverse or no effect on the condition that they are being consumed to treat. There have been cases in the US where a generic immunosuppressant (a type of drug taken after an organ transplant, to ensure the body recovers well) has proved ineffective – even leading to loss of life.
“In June 2018, a woman arrived at Cleveland Clinic’s emergency room, suffering from chest pain and shortness of breath. Kristy Jordan, thirty-five, had had a successful heart transplant three years earlier and since then had taken the daily immunosuppressant Prograf to prevent organ rejection. But six months earlier, a CVS pharmacy refilled her prescription with generic tacrolimus, made by Dr. Reddy’s. In the time she took it, she felt progressively worse. At the Cleveland Clinic emergency room, tests showed that she was suffering from organ rejection and had lower-than-expected levels of tacrolimus in her blood, which meant that the Dr. Reddy’s drug wasn’t working sufficiently. Doctors stabilized her … Jordan continued to feel sluggish and never fully recovered her health. In September 2018, she died of a heart attack.”
Our drugs are making us incurable
In comparison to being contaminated, a drug being weak or ineffective seems much more harmless. But they do something much worse. They allow the pathogen to mutate, making the patient resistant to effective drugs, making the disease incurable in the longer run.
“Often, substandard drugs do not contain enough active ingredient to effectively treat sick patients. But they do contain enough to kill off the weakest microbes while leaving the strongest intact. These surviving microbes go on to reproduce, creating a new generation of pathogens capable of resisting even fully potent, properly made medicine.” Read more.
A global catastrophe that is brewing because of our poor quality drugs is that pathogens are mutating and evolving to resist the medicines designed for them. The time is arriving soon when, pop a pill, and … err NOTHING HAPPENS. If this doesn’t make you check your medicine cabinet, we don’t know what will. Read the truth behind pharmaceuticals in Katherine Eban’s shocking new book, Bottle of Lies.