Drug Exec Says Industry Must Do More to Protect Consumers

In a surprising statement, a drug company executive said that drug industry manufacturers must do more to protect U.S. consumers from tainted raw materials that are obtained from other countries.

Who’s responsible?

According to billionaire drug company executive, Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong of the American Pharmaceutical Partners (APP), the drug industry is, or should be, responsible for the products that it puts into the marketplace. Soon-Shiong is calling on the industry to do just that after seeing the effects of the blood clotting drug heparin earlier this year. The raw ingredient of heparin comes from pig intestines that are obtained mainly from China. Some of those ingredients were tainted and may have caused the deaths of over 80 patients.

Soon-Shiong’s company, APP, stepped in to provide un-tainted heparin to doctors and hospitals when other companies such as Baxter International recalled all their lots of the drug and created a shortage of the drug. Soon-Shiong says that, in the case of heparin, manufacturers should be able to trace a tainted supply of the drug directly to its source – in this case, the pig. Many manufacturers disagree and say that the process would be too costly and time consuming. However, Soon-Shiong says that manufacturers should be more responsible – especially since the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) cannot adequately protect consumers.

FDA only inspects 1% of imports

The FDA reports that it can only inspect about one percent (that’s “1” percent) of the food and drugs that are imported into the U.S. each year due to a lack of resources. Unfortunately for U.S. consumers, over 80% of the raw ingredients in drugs come from foreign countries such as China and India. The FDA has stated that it plans to do more in the future, but without adequate resources and funding, it’s hard to tell whether that will actually happen.