We all assume the medications we take are safe, until they’re not.
It appears Canadians drug companies are breaking the rules when it comes to quality control. Recent news reports have documented how Canadian drug companies have hidden, altered and in some cases destroyed test data that showed their products were tainted or potentially unsafe. They also have also failed to report evidence of side-effects suffered by consumers taking their drugs.
The good news is that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the United States is watching. They have the authority to inspect any Canadian drug facility that ships drugs to American consumers. They discovered more than 40 Canadian drug companies have been cited for numerous violations.
The bad news is that Health Canada isn’t doing as much as the FDA. While the FDA publicizes the results of their inspections, Health Canada does not give any details of the problems they discover at their inspections. The Canadian regulator does not even make public the names of the 20-plus companies that have been cited since 2012 for severe manufacturing violations.
What makes our inspection process interesting is that if Health Canada wants to publicize its findings, it has to consult with the inspected Canadian drug companies before publicly disclosing the information. Most health experts think this is absurd. What company of any kind would in their right mind want this kind of results posted for the world to see?
In their defense, Health Canada does not allow drug products to be sold, including those imported for sale, in Canada unless there is satisfactory evidence that good manufacturing standards are being met in the facility where the product is made.
But it still isn’t enough. Health Canada should begin to tell the public about their standards violations. That will place more pressure on drug companies to follow existing manufacturing guidelines. We will all be healthier because of it.