Drug Safety Project

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Contaminated compounded steroid injections from a single pharmacy in Massachusetts in 2012 and 2013 were associated with 751 illnesses and 64 deaths across multiple states. Some affected survivors are still experiencing ongoing medical complications due to the contaminated injections.

In 2012, the U.S. attorney for southern New York uncovered a massive criminal drug diversion scheme that cost the state Medicaid program more than $500 million. Criminals purchased drugs on the street and sold them back to legitimate wholesalers and pharmacies. Unsuspecting patients who received these recycled drugs were exposed to medicines that may have expired or been contaminated.

In 2007 and 2008, dozens of patients in the U.S. suffered adverse effects, and some died, after receiving heparin, a widely used blood-thinner that had been adulterated during its manufacture in China. Up to 80 percent of active ingredients and 40 percent of finished drugs used by U.S. patients are manufactured abroad.

Supply chain weaknesses have also resulted in numerous high-profile drug shortages. In 2012 the U.S. experienced 456 active drug shortages, many of them crucial medicines for use in cancer, surgery, and intensive care.

Pew works with diverse stakeholders to develop support for measures to address these risks and ensure the safety and security of the U.S. pharmaceutical supply chain

Media Contact

Sara Brinda

Senior Associate, Communications