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Ranbaxy, the FDA and rogue online pharmacies

Here’s some news: the FDA has blocked imports of some generic prescription drugs from Ranbaxy Laboratories in India, the world’s largest generic manufacturer. According to the Boston Globe. FDA inspections earlier this year found violations that could lead to contamination, allergic reactions, and other problems, and the company hasn’t taken proper steps to correct them, said Deborah Autor, director of FDA’s compliance office.

Here’s what we think is really going on: as LegitScript has discovered, online pharmacies are selling Ranbaxy products and the FDA is trying to get to the bottom of why.

Let’s back up. LegitScript has performed test buys from rogue Internet pharmacies. Some of the drugs arrived with Ranbaxy packaging and labels, from India, without a valid prescription. And numerous rogue online pharmacies claim to sell Ranbaxy’s generic drugs.

There are only two explanations: either the drugs are counterfeit, or the real Ranbaxy products are leaving the legitimate, FDA-approved chain of commerce somehow.

It’s right for the FDA to try and figure out why this is happening. After all, just because the drugs are in Ranbaxy packaging doesn’t mean that they aren’t counterfeit. But it could mean that Ranbaxy chemists are trying to make an extra buck by producing products, either real or adulterated, out the back door.