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Can You Avoid Unapproved Drugs?

November 25, 2008

unapproved-drugs2With the recent questions of drug safety relating to the use of unapproved FDA drugs, you are likely concerned about discovering a few details about the potential safety and registration of the pharmaceutical drug that you or a loved one is taking. Discovering the truth isn’t simply as easy as asking your pharmacy. While you might be predisposed to think otherwise, pharmacies are not always well versed in researching the origins of the pharmaceuticals they sell. The other side of the coin in drug safety is that a particular pharmaceutical mix may be approved, but the manufacturer must be approved as well. Researching drug safety is fraught with details and issues abound, including potential accuracy of noting the correct manufacturer by the issuing pharmacy.

TNTalk! America researched samplings of pharmaceuticals in groups of 12 drugs that are commonly administered to aging or geriatric patients. These pharmaceuticals were researched based on information held by the FDA.

drug-safety-3The Food and Drug Administration has two online databases where you can input your drug information in an effort to check your prescriptions. TNTalk! America found that the tools offered were problematic at best. The Orange Book is listed first and given quite a deal credibility. However, during the researching process with the Orange Book database, only 5 of 12 medications on average could be evaluated for safety and approval by the FDA. That is poor performance.

TNTalk! America found the FDA Orange Book database choices complex and subject to inaccuracy, subject to error in general by the consumer. Of those medications that could not be evaluated with any reliability were aspirin, potassium chloride, ferrous sulfate and docusate sodium. Even worse, the use of this database posed more questions than answers.

FDA Orange Book

The FDA also has a database known as the National Drug Code Directory, which proved more effective at getting the information needed without needless complexity. In this case, all but 4 medications were able to be confirmed as safe and manufactured by reputable standards.

National Drug Code Directory

Of those twelve medications, 2 were not officially registered medications which indicates no approval by the FDA. Another four medications showed issues with the manufacturer and/or the pharmacy accuracy, firmly planting a potential error of 50% in determining the safety of the pharmaceutical drugs in your cabinet.  This was especially notable regarding generic medications.

In the estimation of TNTalk! America, this is a clear breach of trust detailing inaccuracy exactly where your life depends on accuracy. It isn’t a matter of importing bogus or unsafe drugs from China, but maintaining simple lists of approved drugs and manufacturers for those drugs. It is the feeling of this writer that you should be very concerned, especially for high volume pharmaceutical patients that are most prone to drug effects and problems. If you care about your health and the health of your loved ones, now is not the time waste your efforts. Nothing less than a letter to your lawmaker is in order. ~ E. Manning

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