Dear Bernie: Did You Know That Those ‘Cheap’ Diabetes Drugs In Canada Have Been Recalled — Here’s The 411

Written by Wes Walker on February 27, 2020

Before you get super-excited about those plans about buying cheap drugs from other Western Countries, you might want to consider the downside.

There’s an old maxim, ‘you get what you pay for’.

Basically, it says if you are paying cut-rate for your drugs, there’s probably a good reason they cost less.

Now, it MIGHT be a question of price gouging. Human nature being what it is, that’s a possibility. But there’s another possibility on the cheaper end that people don’t always take into consideration.

Are they cutting corners on the el-cheapo version?

The short answer is… yes, they are. And patients are paying a price.

Bernie loves to talk about how much cheaper drugs are in Canada, right? Well, let’s see an enterprising journalist ask him about this:

Health Canada has expanded a national recall for certain types of diabetes medications due to concerns that an impurity in the prescription drugs could be linked to cancer.

The recall, issued Wednesday, is for certain brands of drugs containing metformin, which is prescribed to some patients with Type 2 diabetes to help control their blood sugar levels.

The recalled medications contain alarmingly high levels of an organic compound called N-nitrosodimethylamine, or NDMA. The compound is safe when ingested in small doses over a lifetime, but studies have shown that it is potentially carcinogenic above a certain threshold.

The new recall includes six lots of the RAN-Metformin drug, sold in 500 milligram tablets by Ranbaxy Pharmaceuticals Canada Inc. Earlier this month, Health Canada issued a similar recall for eight lots of APO-Metformin ER tablets, sold in 500 milligram tablets by Apotex Inc. — Source: CTV

American supplies were tested for contamination with this same carcinogen.

The FDA says it has no plans to recall any metformin products, used to treat type 2 diabetes, after tests did not show any evidence of contamination with N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) at levels that would cause concern.

The FDA began testing samples of metformin for the carcinogen NDMA at the end of last year. Contamination with this substance has led to recalls of blood pressure and heartburn medications within the past 2 years.

That announcement came on the heels of a recall of three versions of metformin in Singapore and the European Medicines Agency’s request that drugmakers test for NDMA. — Source: WebMD