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So it was with more than a little concern that he recently learned the Chinese supplier of the drug’s active ingredient for years had been hiding the fact that its product was contaminated with a carcinogenic material once found in rocket fuel.
If that was the whole story, it would be sufficient to spark worry among all Americans about the safety and reliability of the pharmaceutical supply chain. But it gets even worse.
Pearl, 65, a Westlake Village resident, discovered that when the generic valsartan that cost him $8 a month was imperiled, his choice was to switch to a name-brand alternative costing — wait for it — nearly $300 monthly.
That led Pearl to forgo treatment for several weeks until his doctor could find a generic med that contained a different active ingredient.
There’s so much to be miffed about here, I hardly know where to begin.
Oh, I forgot to mention: Pearl isn’t exactly a bystander when it comes to the pharmaceutical business. He spent about 25 years with the Thousand Oaks biotech firm Amgen, including stints as vice president of manufacturing and vice president of operations. He currently works as an industry consultant.
“It’s all about money,” he told me. “It’s all about manufacturing for the cheapest amount possible.”
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