MFG 2.0

Yep, That's A Quality Problem Alright

I was just reading an article on CNNMoney entitled "Drug recalls surge". Initially, the headline and lead paragraph made me think, "Wow, the entire pharmaceutical manufacturing industry is headed down the tubes" until I got into the meat of the article and read this line:

The Food and Drug Administration reported more than 1,742 recalls last year, skyrocketing from 426 in 2008. . . One company, drug repackager Advantage Dose, accounted for more than 1,000 of those recalls.

Off the top of my head, that rounds up to ~60%. Thankfully, they got themselves shut down -- but it makes me wonder, is that even a full year's worth of recallable drug production?

The story goes on to point to manufacturing quality problems as the culprit for the recalls (surprise, surprise), at least partly brought on by a desire to reach the lucrative "first to file" status for generics manufacturers:

The spike in recalls, especially of generic and over-the-counter drugs, is being driven by manufacturing lapses, experts say. Some of the biggest culprits: the quality of raw materials, faulty labeling and packaging and contamination.

According to the story, not only do generic drugs account for about three quarters of all prescription drug sales, but corner-cutting by drugmakers means they "sometimes fail to spend enough time time learning how best to make the drug."

Takeaway: There's at least one bad reason why generics are that cheap.

Even given the misguided incentives in the overall generic pharmaceuticals market, to have one firm account for nearly 60% of the recalls in an entire industry is perversely impressive.

Is there someone that you can think of that is bringing down the reputation of an entire industry with their quality problems?

http://i2.cdn.turner.com/money/2010/08/16/news/companies/drug_recall_surge/chart_drug_recalls2.top.gif

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