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The Newark Star Ledger reports that “the next Chinese export to reach American consumers will be lower-cost generic versions of brand-name medicines. Although it will take at least several years before Chinese-made generics are available here in significant numbers, the prospect already is raising safety concerns, given China's history of substandard drugs at home, the recent scandal involving contaminated ingredients in the blood thinner heparin, and other safety problems, from tainted pet food to toothpaste.”

According to the story, “Chinese drug companies face a number of challenges if they want to export generic drugs to the United States, including providing proof they can manufacture safe and high-quality finished products that meet American standards. The Chinese market has been riddled with counterfeit drugs, and its drug regulatory agency has been beset by corruption.”

KC's View:
Thousands of key rings manufactured in China are being recalled because they have so much lead in them that there are concerns that people could hurt themselves if they put them in their mouths. If China can’t make safe key rings, what are the odds that it will make safe medicines.

Now, the good news for shoppers is that Chinese generic drugs are likely to lower overall drug prices…but the question is how much testing are we going to do, how much traceability there is going to be, and how seriously the federal system is going to take the prospect of Chinese drugs. Will they stay ahead of possible problems, or will they be reactive?

I’m not confident.