Sept. 16, 2008 -- The FDA today slapped an import alert on generic drugs made at two plants in India run by Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd. of India.
But the FDA recommends that consumers keep taking their Ranbaxy drugs.
"To date, we have seen no evidence of harm to consumers from drugs produced at these two facilities and have no reason to believe that drugs already in the U.S. from these plants pose a safety problem," Douglas Throckmorton, MD, deputy director of the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, said today at a news conference.
The import alert focuses on manufacturing practices at two Ranbaxy facilities -- one in Dewas, India, and the other in Paonta Sahib, India. The problems, summed up in two FDA warning letters issued today, include inadequate sterile processing operations and inadequate written records of the cleaning and use of major equipment.
Even so, FDA officials say they haven't found any problems with Ranbaxy drugs made at those facilities. Ranbaxy's other drug-making facilities aren't part of the import alert.
Ranbaxy is one of the largest foreign suppliers of generic drugs to the U.S. The FDA's import alert covers more than 30 different genetic drugs. A full list of those drugs is posted on the FDA's web site.
One Ranbaxy drug, ganciclovir oral capsules (an antiviral drug), is exempt from the import alert because Ranbaxy is its sole supplier to the U.S. The FDA is asking Ranbaxy to take extra steps to make sure ganciclovir oral capsules meet the FDA's standards.
The FDA doesn't expect the import alert to result in any drug shortages because except for ganciclovir, there are other drugmakers that can meet the need for those drugs in the U.S., notes Throckmorton.
This is the second time in less than three years that the FDA has issued a warning letter to Ranbaxy. In 2006, the FDA cited Ranbaxy for violations of good manufacturing practices at Ranbaxy's Paonta Sahib, India facility.
In a statement emailed to WebMD, Ranbaxy says it is "very disappointed" in the FDA's action. Ranbaxy says it "has responded to each concern FDA has raised during the past two years and had thought that progress was being made. We are, however, pleased that FDA's testing and review led the agency to conclude that there is no reason question the safety or effectiveness of Ranbaxy's drugs."
Ranbaxy says it "looks forward to continuing to cooperate with FDA to resolve the remaining issues" at the two Indian plants noted in the import alert. Ranbaxy also confirms that the company's other facilities, three of which are in the U.S., aren't subject to the FDA's warning letters.