May 20, 2019
Do you know where your medicines are made? Have you been switched between different generic forms of your medicine, only to find that you responded differently?
Two recent books have echoed my longstanding concern about America’s dependence on other countries for basic needs and the security of our supply chain for medicines. My concern has heightened with the news this week of a tightening trade war with China and saber-rattling about Iran.
Many of the key ingredients for antibiotics are produced only in China. These are called APIs, or Active pharmaceutical ingredients.
Medicine and supply shortages
As an infectious disease physician, I was regularly hampered by drug shortages. A global shortage of piperacillin-tazobactam, a critically important antibiotic, occurred because of an explosion at a Chinese factory which was the sole source for its API. The manufacturing of the final drug occurred in India and Italy.