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#71 – Katherine Eban: Widespread fraud within the generic drug trade – Athletic Healthcare
Saturday, February 24, 2024
Mitochondrial Health

#71 – Katherine Eban: Widespread fraud within the generic drug trade

On this episode, Katherine Eban, investigative journalist and writer of Bottle of Lies, illuminates the prevalence of fraud in generic drug manufacturing which brings into query the concept generics are equivalent to brand-name drug as we’re result in imagine. Katherine walks us by means of how this widespread corruption got here to be, together with the surprising story of 1 notably egregious (and sadly not unusual) instance of an Indian drug firm, Ranbaxy, whose enterprise mannequin was utterly depending on falsifying information of their drug purposes to the FDA. We then focus on the following investigation into Indian and Chinese language drug manufacturing crops which revealed that almost 80% of them are tainted with fraud. We conclude this dialogue on a optimistic word with i) how people can examine their very own medication to guard themselves ii) an revolutionary pharmacy trying to disrupt the market and iii) some concepts on the right way to reform to the rules round generic medication, the FDA, and extra.


We focus on:

  • How Peter discovered Katherine’s e book, and what satisfied her to analyze the generic drug trade [5:45];
  • Branded vs. generic medication: Why they aren’t the identical factor [11:15];
  • The Meals and Drug Administration: Why it was initially created and what it does at this time [20:45];
  • How the generic drug trade actually received its begin within the U.S., and the flaw of the Hatch-Waxman Act [28:20];
  • PEPFAR: How a well-intentioned plan to assist Africa with the AIDS epidemic laid the groundwork for corruption [36:30];
  • The story of Ranbaxy: An Indian drug firm whose enterprise mannequin was fraud and deceit [40:45];
  • How the FDA approves medication, the affect of “first to file”, and Peter’s tangent on ethical corruption [47:30];
  • A booming generic drug market and the FDA struggling to maintain up [57:15];
  • Dinesh’s inside investigation finds widespread fraud and falsified information inside Ranbaxy [1:00:15];
  • Presenting the well-known SAR doc to Ranbaxy’s board of administrators which spells out the company-wide fraud [1:09:15];
  • Dinesh blows the whistle on Ranbaxy which results in a raid on their US plant [1:19:45];
  • Formal investigation of Ranbaxy is launched, however the FDA retains approving Ranbaxy drug purposes [1:33:30];
  • What position does the tradition in India play within the excessive prevalence of fraud within the drug trade? [1:41:00];
  • The acute prevalence of knowledge fraud/manipulation in international generic drug factories [1:52:30];
  • Concluding the Ranbaxy story [2:06:15];
  • How involved do you have to be when shopping for a generic drug out of your native pharmacy? [2:11:15];
  • Methods to examine your individual medication for high quality to make sure you are getting what you want [2:18:30];
  • An revolutionary pharmacy that exams all its medication for high quality [2:24:45];
  • Reforming the FDA and generic drug trade: Why we’d like reform and concepts on the right way to do it [2:27:45];
  • The significance of taking particular person possession and never ready for Congress to bail us out [2:34:00];
  • Closing ideas from Katherine [2:36:50]; and
  • Extra.


How Peter discovered Katherine’s e book, and what satisfied her to analyze the generic drug trade [5:45]

How did Peter come across Katherine’s work?

  • Sam Harris beneficial Katherine’s e book, Bottle of Lies, to Peter
  • Sam discovered the content material infuriating which received Peter intrigued (since he views Sam as somebody who by no means will get mad) 

Katherine’s e book: Bottle of Lies: The Inside Story of the Generic Drug Boom

Determine 1. Cowl of Bottle of Lies by Katherine Eban. Picture credit score: katherineeban.com

What received her into the subject of generic drug manufacturing?

  • Earlier than I began with this mission, I thought of generics the best way I believe most individuals do, which is we’d like them, they’re reasonably priced, no one can afford their model title medication they usually’re form of an engine that makes authorities well being applications run.
  • In 2008, nonetheless, Katherine received a name from Joe Graydon (runs an NPR podcast known as The People’s Pharmacy)
  • He knowledgeable her that he had been getting despatched a ton of messages from listeners who had been complaining about unwanted effects from their generic medication and/or that they weren’t working the identical means that their model title medication had been
  • Joe took the complaints to the FDA who shrugged it off as all within the sufferers heads because the medication had a unique title and colour, “however the medication are wonderful.”

What made Katherine suppose there was one thing to this case that made her wish to dig into it?

  • As an skilled investigative journalist, Katherine stated you develop a way, a “tingle”, when one thing looks as if a authentic challenge 

Branded vs. generic medication: Why they aren’t the identical factor [11:15] 

Analogy: Kleenex (model) vs. facial tissue paper (generic)

*False impression about generic medication: Most individuals imagine (as a result of the FDA instructed them so) that generic medication are equivalent to the model title (simply at a cheaper price level)

Methods to generics come to be?

-A generic is a model of a model title drug that’s made both after a model title drug has

  1. gone off patent so it’s not legally protected, or
  2. if the generic firm has efficiently challenged the model patent in court docket after which the FDA provides them permission to make a generic

However is it equivalent? 

  • No
  • The truth is, for those who make two batches of medication in the identical manufacturing plant utilizing the identical components, these two batches might be a little bit bit completely different

Steps to creating a generic (and why it may be completely different from the model title):

  • A drug firm has reverse engineered the model drug
  • So that they have damaged it down in a lab
  • tried to determine the right way to put it collectively
  • perhaps with a unique set of producing steps
  • They’ve then concocted the drug
  • Nevertheless, they may have used further components so long as the central molecule which has already been examined for security and efficacy is current
  • Then they need to current information to the FDA
  • The FDA acknowledges there’s going to be variations, so that they’ve supplied a spread
  • The vary is measured when it comes to the absorption of the drug into the blood
  • The generic drug firm has to current information to the FDA displaying by means of their testing that they’ve hit inside that vary
  • And if that’s the case, the drug is taken into account bioequivalent 

However wait…why do the generic firms need to reverse engineer the medication? Don’t they get the blueprint as soon as the patent expires?

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Katherine Eban

Katherine Eban, an investigative journalist, is a Fortune journal contributor and Andrew Carnegie fellow. Her articles on pharmaceutical counterfeiting, gun trafficking, and coercive interrogations by the CIA, have received worldwide consideration and quite a few awards. She has additionally written for Self-importance Honest, the New York Occasions, Self, The Nation, the New York Observer and different publications. Her work has been featured on 60 Minutes, Nightline, NPR, and different nationwide information applications. She lectures ceaselessly on the subject of pharmaceutical integrity.

Her first e book, Harmful Doses: a True Story of Cops, Counterfeiters and the Contamination of America’s Drug Provide, was named one of many Greatest Books of 2005 by Kirkus Critiques and was a Barnes & Noble Uncover Nice New Writers decide. Her account of reporting on 9/11 was anthologized in At Floor Zero: 25 Tales From Younger Reporters Who Had been There. Her work has additionally been awarded grants from the Alfred P. Sloan Basis, the Fund for Investigative Journalism, the Alicia Patterson Basis and the McGraw Heart for Enterprise Journalism at CUNY’s Craig Newmark Graduate College of Journalism. Educated at Brown College and Oxford, the place she was a Rhodes Scholar, she lives in Brooklyn along with her husband, two daughters and Newfoundland canine Romeo. [katherineeban.com]

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