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The Risk Of Generic Drugs

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – I have to admit that over the years it has taken me quite some time to accept generic medications as a valuable tool for helping patients afford medications and to encourage them to take their medications as prescribed.

I think that there is definitely a role for generics that is growing. But I do have a concern. This is not raised by studies or journal articles but by my experience with patients. Many pharmacies actually enter into deals with certain companies to provide the pharmacies with generics. As a result, depending on the time of year or length of contract the shape or color of a pill can change, not the way the drug works but its appearance.

Why is this a problem? Quite simple. Many patients, particularly the elderly, learn to take two pink pills or one white pill each day. When the color or shape changes — and in a worst case scenario — when the new color or shape actually looks like another drug, a patient runs the risk of taking the wrong medication or dose day after day.

This can be a recipe for disaster. It’s a problem that needs to be looked into, soon.

Reported By Dr. Brian McDonough, KYW Newsradio Medical Editor

More from Dr. Brian McDonough
  • Pharmacist

    There is a REAL risk in taking some generic drugs. Most often, no one really knows the source of the generic drug. Was it made in the border area between Pakistan and Afganistan? Was the drug made in a garage in India. Does the generic have melamine as a filler? United States RARELY, if ever, inspects the foreign manufacturers of generics. The next time you get a generic drug at your pharmacy, as the pharmacist if he knows in what country the drug was made. And if that manufacturer has ever been inspected by our FDA? I have $1000 tha your pharmacist will not know the answer to either question.

  • Brian

    This article says nothing about the “Risk of Generic Drugs” as the title implies. The drugs themselves are not a risk. The issue is patients utilizing an ineffective and dangerous system for taking drugs. There are many great ways to keep multiple medications organized for daily dosages–simply relying on color or shape is irresponsible and any negative consequence from doing so should not be blamed on the pharmacies or drug manufacturers.

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