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Pills that weren't made in the U.S.

March 29, 2009

Re: David Lazarus' consumer column, "Tell us what's in those pills," March 22:

I am a retired salesman from a large German chemical company famous for aspirin. For a time, I sold chromic acid in bulk containers from South Africa to a onetime U.S. producer of chromic acid.

At that time, South Africa was under the apartheid system of government. As South Africa was a pariah, I asked the buyer how it could sell South African material. Simple. When the buyer repackaged the bulk material into their package, it was considered value added. There was no requirement to state the country of origin.

The buyer was able to print on the label: Made in the U.S.A.

Jack DeLuca

Newport Beach


What is really scary is to go on the Food and Drug Administration website, enter the name of a drug and then see page after page of places where it is made, along with words of warning like "recall" or "dangerous" or otherwise. This is especially true of generics made in places like India and China.

Not all generics are problematic, of course, but there are enough warnings to make one worry about them. I'm now paying a much higher co-pay for a proprietary drug. One can't help wonder where some of the $4 generics are actually coming from.

I'm glad to know where food I buy originates, but at least if the carrots come from another country where sanitation may be questionable, I can wash and peel them. Not so the medications I take.

Audray Johnson



Bravo! The column highlights a serious problem that is getting no interest or attention from those empowered to protect our food and drugs.

I am a physician and I am also concerned about tainted prescribed medication and generic medications, which often contain inert substances manufactured in other countries and that are not monitored or revealed to the purchaser.

The issue of free ports, through which substances can pass with no trace to the country of origin, makes this type of clandestine operation and its consequences especially disturbing. Sadly, this also applies to all prescribed medication as well as over-the-counter supplements and medication.

Susan R. Young, M.D.

Los Angeles

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