Drug Making’s Move Abroad Stirs Concerns

Consumers want inexpensive medications and yet express concern about pharmaceutical firms relocating factories abroad, along with the loss of jobs and possible loss of quality control. “Like other manufacturing operations, drug plants have been moving to Asia because labor, construction, regulatory and environmental costs are lower there,” reports Gardiner Harris for the New York Times, adding that critical ingredients for most antibiotics are now made in China and India. US regulators tend to inspect domestic plants far more frequently than foreign operations, which adds to domestic costs, but such inspections are also challenged by a lack of information on sources: “Since drug makers often view their supply chains as trade secrets, the true source of a drug’s ingredients can be difficult or impossible to discover,” Harris notes, adding some lists report 3000 overseas plants and others list more than 6000. With a firm foothold in pharmaceutical manufacturing, China also looks to increase research; one regional government offers incentives to firms that obtain drug approvals from the US or European regulators. Even as US citizens bemoan the high costs of health care and medications, US legislators consider enacting a law that would require some drug manufacturing in the US or at least some stockpiles. – YaleGlobal

Drug Making’s Move Abroad Stirs Concerns

Gardiner Harris
Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Click here for the article on The New York Times.

Copyright 2009 The New York Times Company

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