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Resource ID: #26514
Subject: Drugs
Source: CBS News
Affiliation: 
Date: November 5 & 6, 2013

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Description

The first part of our story profiled a whistleblower who exposed massive fraud at Ranbaxy, a multi-billion dollar Indian generic drug company that sold adulterated drugs to millions of Americans for years. The company sold these drugs to millions of Americans while lieing to the FDA claiming the drugs worked and could fight such life threatening illnesses like cancer, AIDS, diabetes and infections. The second part of our story revealed that despite the company's claims, the company has ongoing serious manufacturing problems. In fact, just two weeks after CBS left a Ranbaxy plant in India, the FDA banned all finished drugs coming into the US from Ranbaxy. However, our story also revealed that while the FDA banned all finished drugs, the company is still continues to make the key ingredients for drugs sold to Americans today- including such popular drugs as Astra Zeneca's Nexium. At the center of our story was the whistleblower, Dinesh Thakur, who had never done a television interview. The risks that Thakur took in exposing his company led to a massive federal false claims lawsuit that aided the federal criminal investigation and rewarded Thakur with $49 million. According to one federal agent who worked on the case for seven years, without Thakur “there would have been no investigation and no criminal conviction.” We were alarmed to find in our reporting that so many of the key players in the federal investigation had made personal decisions based on what they learned to never take a Ranbaxy drug. Three Justice Department attorneys, six former Ranbaxy employees, one former FDA criminal investigator and two Congressional investigators (Democrat and a Republican) all told CBS News that they would never take a Ranbaxy drug, nor would they allow a family member to do so. Each shared with us personal anecdotes of finding Ranbaxy drugs in family members' medicine cabinets or receiving a prescription at a drug store only to tell the pharmacist that they must have a different brand. For this reason we felt strongly that it was important to notify our audience of the risks with this company. We also informed our audience that foreign drug makers are not subject to the same strong oversight that drug makers in the US face every day. For example, drug makers in the US face unannounced inspections. Despite efforts to beef up foreign FDA inspections, foreign companies are still notified in advance of upcoming inspections. In the US there is one FDA inspector for every 9 phamaceutical facilities. In India there is one FDA inspector for every 105 facilities. CBS News also tracked down half a dozen other former Ranbaxy employees who told CBS what they witnessed at the company both in the United States and in India. Two top employees went on camera to share their experiences.

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