Medications from other Countries

Question

Is it safe to take medications made outside the US?

Dr. Greene's Answer

In many countries, particularly in developing nations, drugs are put on the market that have not been tested according to the standards we are accustomed to in the United States. Many of these drugs are quite safe; however, there is a risk involved in using them. Additionally, during the manufacturing of some of these drugs, safeguards that insure stated dosage levels are not in place. Thus, a package may state a safe dosage for children, but no one is checking to make sure the stated dose is in fact what the medication contains. Usually this is not a problem, but occasionally the results are very harmful and even fatal. Before using over-the-counter drugs from any country, I would recommend investigating their standards for drug testing, safety, and manufacturing. Although safety standards are generally much higher in industrialized countries than in developing countries, I cannot personally comment on the review process for pediatric drugs in other countries.

Medical Review on: June 21, 2008
About the Author
Photo of Dr. Alan Greene
Dr. Greene is a practicing physician, author, national and international TEDx speaker, and global health advocate. He is a graduate of Princeton University and University of California San Francisco.
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