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Wal-mart is heavily promoting a program of 30-day supplies of generic drugs for $4, pointing to the program as an indicator of the company's leadership on making healthcare more affordable. To profit on $4 dollar prescriptions, Walmart is importing drugs from foreign countries, including India. Walmart competitor Costco went a different direction in late 2006, when it ended its $4 dollar prescription drug plan because it was losing money selling prescription drugs at such a low price. Costco switched to selling 100 pills for $10.
One of Walmart's Indian drug suppliers, Ranbaxy Laboratories, LTD, has been repeatedly investigated by the Food and Drug Administration and the Department of Justice for "inadequate" safeguards against contamination, falsification of records and submitting false information to the FDA. Eight months before the FDA inspected Ranbaxy's Paonta Sahib plant and found significant violations, Walmart awarded the company a "Supplier Award" for improving shipping times and performance.
In 2008, the FDA banned importation of drugs manufactured at two of Ranbaxy's plants, and in 2009, the FDA halted review of applications to import drugs manufactured at the Paonta Sahib plant.  Soon thereafter, Canada followed suit and banned importation of drugs manufactured at that facility.
Yet Walmart still imports generic drugs made by Ranbaxy at its other Indian facilities.
A union-funded group criticized Wal-Mart Stores Inc. on Tuesday for continuing to do business with India's largest drug manufacturer after two of the firm's plants failed to meet U.S. Food & Drug Administration standards last year.
Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd. is a major global supplier of generic drugs whose customers include other large U.S. retailers such as Walgreens Co., CVS Inc., The Kroger Co. and Rite Aid Corp.
Washington-based WakeUp-WalMart.com took issue with Wal-Mart, based in Bentonville, for buying pharmaceuticals from Ranbaxy after the FDA cited the two plants for falsifying records, failure to prevent cross-contamination of drugs and other violations.
"It certainly raises questions about the type of business practices that this manufacturer uses in producing its drugs," said Meghan Scott, group spokesman. WakeUpWalMart is funded by the United Food and Commercial Workers union, which has long sought to represent Wal-Mart workers.
Christi Gallagher, a Wal-Mart spokesman, said the company works closely with its suppliers and the FDA to ensure that manufacturers comply with U.S. standards. Wal-Mart has no reason to believe any tainted products reached its store shelves, she said.
Scott said Wal-Mart is seeking to make itself a player in the national debate over changes in health care, which puts its product-sourcing practices under scrutiny.
"Wal-Mart is certainly not alone," she said.
Gallagher said the critic group was citing dated information that was not specific to Wal-Mart. And like the FDA, she said, the company advised customers to continue taking drugs their doctors prescribed.
The FDA issued warning letters to Ranbaxy Laboratories in September for deficient practices at the plants in Dewas and Paonta Sahib. In February, the FDA announced it had halted review of drug applications from the Paonta Sahib plant, citing falsified data in approved and pending applications.
Wal-Mart's stock closed Tuesday at $48.31 a share, down 24 cents or 0.49 percent, on the New York Stock Exchange. The stock has traded between $46.25 and $63.85 in the past year.
To contact this reporter:
Over 750,000 people actually do die in the United States every year, although not from plane crashes. They die from something far more common and rarely perceived by the public as dangerous: modern medicine.
Two-thirds of the foreign drug manufacturers subject to inspection by the Food and Drug Administration may never have been visited by agency inspectors, a government watchdog told Congress Thursday.
An estimated 80 percent of the active pharmaceutical ingredients used to make drugs sold in the U.S. are imported. Among finished drugs, an estimated 40 percent are made abroad.
Originally posted by marg6043
reply to post by Pauligirl
Well it is common than in 2003 it was laws passed to make sure that imported drugs most pass FDA regulations so is the law after all.
Now is Walmart braking the law while selling drugs that are not FDA approved/