Drugs in a Pandemic
Ralph talks drugs with two experts, first Katherine Eban about how we can expect the coronavirus pandemic to affect the supply chain for every drug we import. And Jamie Love about how the government needs to keep pharmaceutical companies from gouging American taxpayers in a crisis, especially when the research and development of the drugs was done with taxpayer money. Plus, Ralph answers a question from a listener trapped in the credit economy.
Katherine Eban is an investigative journalist, a Fortune magazine contributor and Andrew Carnegie fellow. Ms. Eban wrote a book titled, Bottle of Lies: The Inside Story of the Generic Drug Boom, which discusses the risks of drugs manufactured overseas. Ms. Eban has reported on the pharmaceutical industry for more than 10 years.
“It’s an extraordinary moment, but this is a moment in which all the other ills that people have been warning about are coalescing. This sort of thread bare regulatory system that is spread across the entire world, our complete and unacceptable dependence on these foreign countries for life saving medicine [are] looming signs of greater drug shortages to come. I fear what is around the corner.”
Katherine Eban, journalist and generic drug expert about the effect the coronavirus pandemic will have on our nation’s total drug supply
“You’ve got plants that are falsifying and manipulating quality data, that are ignoring impurity spikes in their drugs. And let me be clear this was what was happening in the best of times, when there was no crisis, so now you put the coronavirus on top of that with these overseas dependencies and no visibility into these plants. The FDA tried to reassure everybody by saying, well we have other methods for getting at the quality, like we’re going to be asking for data from those plants. And I have FDA investigators telling me that that data is not worth the paper it is printed on.”
Katherine Eban, author of “Bottle of Lies: The Inside Story of the Generic Drug Boom”
Jamie Love is the Director of Knowledge Ecology International, an organization that engages in global public interest advocacy, including focusing on new solutions to public health and advocating for access to new drugs, vaccines and medical technologies. Mr. Love advises UN agencies, national governments, and public health NGOs.
“People have to take a hard look at the idea that they don’t have domestic capacity. I don’t think that every country needs to make every product it uses, but they have to have a sufficient amount of industrial capacity, that in cases like this, they can protect their own people.”
Jamie Love, director of Knowledge Ecology International