India supplies 40 percent of the generic prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications sold in the United States. But now there are new concerns about whether these imported medicines are safe, according to The New York Times.
American regulators have cited India drugmakers for safety lapses and selling fake medicines. Inspectors from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration have been inundating Indian drug plants with inspections and issuing a flood of penalties, including import bans on some medications found to be adulterated, such as the acne drug Accutane, the pain drug Neurontin, and the antibiotic Cipro.
The World Health Organization has estimated that one in five medications made in India are fakes.
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However, in India the increased scrutiny is viewed as an effort by the U.S. to protect its domestic pharmaceutical industry from competition.
"There are some people who take a very sinister view of the FDA inspections," Keshave Desiraju, India's former health secretary, told The Times.
Meanwhile, there is also growing concern about medications coming to the U.S. from China, which provides ingredients for nearly all antibiotics and steroids used in the U.S.
The FDA has tried to perform more inspections in China, but the Chinese government so far has not issued the necessary visas to American inspectors.
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