The lower prices that come from competition when drug patents expire and generic versions hit the market is great for consumers, but do you know what’s terrible for consumers? Drugs that don’t work. Yet there may be drugs on your shelf at home right now that haven’t been proven safe, effective, and––in the case of generics–– equivalent to the original brand-name drug. The alleged poor practices by six chemists at one research company in Texas affected more than one hundred drugs on the market in the United States and Europe.
The FDA has sent a warning to biotech company Genzyme after particles of rubber, steel, and fibers were found in vials of five of their injectable medications. The contamination occurred during the manufacturing process, and the FDA is concerned because doctors could be, y’know, injecting garbage fragments into their patients.
Too many patients don’t remember the names of the medications they’re on, posing problems for doctors who are trying to treat them, warn researchers at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago. About 40% of the patients surveyed “could not accurately recall what drugs they were taking,” and among those with “low health literacy,” the rate jumped to 60%.