The bad news about popular medications just keeps on rolling in. And believe it or not, today’s report is even scarier than the last one.
Maybe you’ve already heard that the antacid Zantac® (also known as ranitidine) has been yanked from the market, due to high levels of a known chemical carcinogen. But what you might not know is that a lot of medications were recalled this year—including some very common blood pressure drugs—for the very same reason.
So if the dangers of these drugs weren’t already terrifying enough for you, get a load of this…
From rocket fuel to ranitidine
The chemical in question is called N-Nitrosodimethylamine, or NDMA. And it’s known to cause cancer in animals. It’s also classified as a probable human carcinogen—one that’s most toxic to the liver.
How toxic, you ask? Well, it used to be a component of rocket fuel. Today, you’ll find it as an industrial byproduct from the manufacturing of pesticides, dyes, and tires.
NDMA is also in cigarette smoke (which is one of the reasons secondhand smoke is so dangerous). And it’s the same compound that makes grilled and cured meat potentially risky, too.
But of course, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) claims that it’s reasonably safe at low levels of consumption, up to a microgram a day. (Laughable, and typical.)
Here’s why all of this matters: Back in July of last year, NDMA turned up in generic blood pressure drugs from a Chinese manufacturer. The subsequent recall has expanded more than fifty times since, to include at least ten manufacturers of drugs sold to millions of people in dozens of countries. (Zantac® is just the latest.)
And we’re not necessarily talking about small amounts of NDMA here. Some of the recalled meds were contaminated with upwards of 17 micrograms of the chemical in a single pill.
That’s the same amount you would get from nearly 50 pounds of bacon. And while the FDA’s apologists can argue that simply grilling a steak can technically generate some nitrosamine (a category of carcinogenic compounds that includes NDMA), the amounts aren’t anywhere near that high.
American officials are determined to downplay the risk, as usual. But European authorities are estimating that one out of every 3,390 patients who took these contaminated drugs daily for several years could get cancer because of it.
And if you ask me, that’s more people than anyone should ever accept as “reasonable.”
A generic threat
I’m not sharing this news to knock generic medications. We need them to keep costs under control—and in most cases, there’s little difference between generics and their more expensive brand-name counterparts.
But the fact is, they receive less scrutiny. Manufacturers only have to demonstrate that patients absorb them at the same rate as the drugs they’re copying.
Plus, insurance companies often tell pharmacies to switch suppliers. So when you go to pick up your meds, you may notice that the pills are a different color or shape. Yet no one really thinks twice about it.
Well… turns out, we should.
Some 80 percent of active ingredients are sourced through Chinese and Indian factories. But the U.S. pharmaceutical companies don’t have to report where they get their raw materials from (nor do they need to know much about it themselves).
Here’s what happens behind the scenes: Foreign companies require FDA approval if they want to make their own versions of generic drugs to sell here in the U.S. But companies that simply supply ingredients to drug makers—who put together and sell the finished product here—only have to tell the FDA if their manufacturing process changes.
Meanwhile, the FDA won’t even check one percent of the drugs they let in for impurities. And overseas inspections don’t happen as often as they once did, either.
In other words, like any other pharmaceutical company, it’s their responsibility to monitor the safety and purity of their own product. Meaning we put our trust in manufacturers to follow the rules. What could possibly go wrong with that???
In the end, patients are the only ones with anything at stake here. The FDA just phones it in until the you-know-what finally hits the fan and they’re forced to do their jobs.
This utter lack of respect for human life—and total deference to Big Pharma—is frightening. But hey… welcome to America in 2019.
And unfortunately, food manufacturers aren’t much better. So be sure to check out the upcoming November issue of my monthly newsletter, Logical Health Alternatives, where I’ll tell you everything you need to know about food labeling. If you’re not yet a subscriberؙ—click here to sign up today! Because believe me when I say this is yet another topic you won’t want to miss.
P.S. In case you haven’t heard, I’m hosting an exclusive event this Sunday, October 13 at 3:00 PM Eastern Time. In fact, my Cancer Survival Summit is a chance for you or a loved one to make a complete recovery from cancer. But I have to warn you… spots are limited. So don’t wait another moment—click here to reserve your spot today!
“Carcinogens Have Infiltrated the Generic Drug Supply in the U.S.” Bloomberg Businessweek, 09/12/2019. (bloomberg.com/news/features/2019-09-12/how-carcinogen-tainted-generic-drug-valsartan-got-past-the-fda)