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U.S. Group Warns of Mix-Ups with Foreign Drugs
  1. #1
    stingray is offline Junior Member
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    Default U.S. Group Warns of Mix-Ups with Foreign Drugs

    U.S. Group Warns of Mix-Ups with Foreign Drugs
    Thu Jan 27, 2005 06:38 PM ET

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The same brand names are sometimes used for different drugs in different countries, posing a risk for people who import cheaper medicines from abroad, a U.S. group warned on Thursday.
    The nonprofit Institute for Safe Medication Practices said it identified at least seven medicines sold in European countries with different ingredients than the ones with the same brand names in the United States.

    No mix-ups from imported drugs have been reported but it is a potential danger, said Matthew Grissinger, a medication safety analyst for the group, which alerts doctors and pharmacists to potential drug name confusion.

    One patient traveling in Serbia ran out of Dilacor XR, a blood pressure treatment marketed by Watson Pharmaceuticals Inc. in the United States. He was given digoxin, a heart failure treatment sold as Dilacor by a Serbian firm, and hospitalized with serious side effects, the group said.

    In Argentina and Brazil, Dilacor represents two different blood pressure treatments known as barnidipine and verapamil.

    "There are a number of instances where brand names for U.S. medications exist in some countries with totally different ingredients," said the Pennsylvania-based group.

    "As a result, this problem adds complexity and danger to drug reimportation," the group said.

    Americans have been importing medicines from Canada and other countries to save money. The practice is against the law, although many lawmakers are pushing to make it legal.

    The Bush administration says there are too many risks and patients cannot be sure which medicines they are getting when they turn abroad, especially if they buy over the Internet.

    Importation supporters advocate a government-monitored system they say would ensure medicines bought from other countries are safe and effective. Proposals in Congress would limit purchases to Canada and a few other countries.

    Anyone buying drugs from other countries should check that the generic names match what was prescribed to them in the United States, the nonprofit group said.

    Generic drug names generally are equivalent throughout the world because authorities have worked to harmonize them. There is no universal system to monitor brand names, the group said.

    For example, Norpramin in the United States contains the active ingredient desipramine for treating depression. The same name is used in Spain for a medicine that contains omeprazole, an ulcer treatment.

    Other names used for different products outside the United States include Flomax, Naqua, Sominex, Trexan and Vivelle, the group said.

    "If the name is not the same, there is a real potential for confusion and mix-up," said Alan Goldhammer, an associate vice president for the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, an industry group. Drug makers have been lobbying fiercely against importation.

  2. #2
    DanS is offline New Member
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    US drug manufacturers don't want foreign drugs to be imported. I am shocked. What would happen to the price of drugs if there was competition? I'll bet Ford & GM were happy when Toyota came to the States either. That said, there will have to be some type of world wide watchdog to make sure that all manufacturers are producing safe and effective meds.

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