Tags: canada | drugs | safety

Expert Asks: Are Canadian Drugs Safe?

Thursday, 13 Sep 2012 01:22 PM

Many Americans get their prescription drugs from Canada, where price controls keep costs lower than in the U.S. But a University of Victoria drug policy expert is raising safety concerns about Canadian pharmaceuticals, noting most sold there are manufactured overseas in countries with less-stringent regulatory standards.
Alan Cassels – a drug policy researcher and advisor to EvidenceNetwork.ca, a non-partisan online resource designed to help journalists covering health policy issues – said Canadian health officials have not publicized details about inspections of overseas drug-manufacturing plants, which suggests Canadians can't be confident their medications are safe.
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In an opinion piece published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, Cassels said he is 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.
"Most Canadians probably don't know that many of our pharmaceuticals come from places like India and China," Cassels said. "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 said he has been 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 said. "Especially when we're dealing with – how can I say this nicely – a federal agency that refuses to even enforce the laws against illegal drug advertising on a bus shelter at the end of my street?"
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Questions raised about Canadian drugs manufactured overseas in countries with less-stringent standards.
Thursday, 13 Sep 2012 01:22 PM
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