How can I determine where a drug is manufactured?

Answered by Gabriel Levitt, MA | Posted Octubre 15, 2017

Prescription drugs sold in the U.S. are manufactured in facilities located all over the world. Many medications you rely on are made in Australia, Canada, China, India, France, Germany, Japan, Malta, Singapore, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Unfortunately, if you live in the U.S., and other countries as well, it can be quite the task to pinpoint exactly where your medication was made because companies are not required to list that information.

In fact, drug companies are only required to list the corporate headquarters on the label, but the actual manufacturing facility and its location are usually elsewhere. Complicating matters even more, many pharmaceutical companies, such as Eli Lilly, GlaxoSmithKline, Merck, and Pfizer, often use contract manufacturers. This means the company distributing the medication is not the one that manufactured it.  

PharmacyChecker.com has researched where some of the most popular drugs in the U.S. (including Viagra, Crestor, Januvia) are made. In the U.S., many brand-name drugs' packaging includes where the drug is made. We have found that 70% of popular brand-name drugs sold in U.S. pharmacies are imported. See the chart below!

One way to do the research is to go to the website of the U.S. National Library of Medicine. You can type in a drug in the search box, and then click on the photo of the drug label. See example: Januvia 25 mg. If you look closely, you'll notice that the drug was made in the UK. 

You can also call the drug company and just ask them. Sometimes they will simply tell you and other times they will not.

We've found that some countries are more transparent than others. In Canada, the label often does not specify where the drug is made, but it almost always does on packaging in Turkey.

In terms of your safety, wherever the manufacturing location, it is crucial to your health that you take lawfully and properly-manufactured drugs.

Oversight in the U.S.

Regardless of where they are made, drugs sold in the United States must comply with FDA's rules, which require that drugs are made in accordance with good manufacturing practices to assure quality, and that products are labeled properly to help you safely use them. Domestic and foreign manufacturing plants that manufacture medications for distribution in the U.S. are usually but not always inspected for compliance with FDA regulations (Source: U.S. Government Accountability Office).

Oversight in Canada and Other Highly-developed Countries

Although requirements vary across different countries, the most economically advanced countries usually have similar regulations to the U.S. when it comes to manufacturing. For example, Canadians count on their government to regulate medications approved for sale in Canada through Health Canada's Therapeutic Products Directorate, Canada's equivalent to the U.S. FDA. 

It's important to note that the U.S. recognizes 25 countries (including Australia, Canada, New Zealand, United Kingdom) as having comparable regulatory oversight as well as pharmaceutical regulatory systems comparable in sophistication and stringency to that of the U.S.   This is a premise widely supported by the FDA and American pharmaceutical industry. Many medications sold in those countries are actually made in the U.S.

See American Made Medications are Cheaper Abroad from our blog. 

The bottom line is that it is not always easy to determine where a product is manufactured. Your pharmacist is an excellent source for information regarding the medication that he/she dispenses, but we also encourage people to take control of their health and do their own research.

Research by PharmacyChecker.com shows that 71% of top brand-name medications sold in U.S. pharmacies are imported, demonstrating that the FDA's public statements on manufacturing are incorrect. Since 2010, FDA leadership has stated that 40% of finished medications and 80% of the active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) used to make all finished pharmaceuticals sold in the U.S. are foreign made.

Where U.S. Brand Name Drugs Come From

Brand Name Drug Sold in U.S. Country of Manufacture
Abilify Japan
Advair Diskus UK
Advair HFA* UK
Afluria Australia
Aggrenox Germany
Alphagan P USA
Amitiza USA
Armour Thyroid USA
Asmanex Twisthaler Singapore
Atripla Canada
Avodart Ireland
Azor Germany
Benicar Japan
Benicar HCT Japan
Bystolic USA
Carafate Oral suspension Canada
Celebrex Singapore
Chantix Ireland
Cialis USA (Puerto Rico)
Combigan USA
Combivent Respimat Germany
Crestor Belgium
Dexilant Japan
Diovan USA
Dulera UK
Durezol USA
Effient Japan
Eliquis USA
Enbrel USA
Epiduo Canada
Exelon Germany
Exforge Switzerland
Flovent HFA UK
Focalin XR USA
Humalog USA
Humalog Kwikpen USA
Humira USA
Humulin R USA
Invokana Italy or USA (Puerto Rico)
Janumet UK
Januvia UK
Lantus Germany
Lantus Solostar Germany
Latuda Japan
Levemir Denmark
Levemir Flexpen Denmark
Levemir Flextouch Denmark
Linzess USA
Lo Loestrin Fe Germany
Lotemax (gel) France
Lumigan Ireland
Lyrica Singapore
Minastrin 24 Fe USA (Puerto Rico)
Myrbetriq Japan or Italy
Namenda USA
Namenda XR Ireland
Nasonex Singapore
Nexium Sweden
Norvir Italy
Novolog Denmark
Novolog Flexpen Denmark
Novolog Flxpen Mix 70/30 Denmark
Nuvaring Netherlands
Onglyza Ireland
Ortho-Tri-Cyclen Lo 28 USA (Puerto Rico)
Oxycontin USA
Pataday USA
Patanol USA
Pradaxa Germany or Italy
Premarin Canada
Premarin Vaginal Cream Canada
Pristiq Singapore
Proventil HFA Italy
Ranexa USA
Relpax Ireland
Seroquel XR Belgium
Spiriva Handihaler Germany
Strattera USA or UK
Suboxone USA or UK
Symbicort France
Synthroid USA (Puerto Rico)
Tamiflu USA
Toprol-XL* Sweden
Tradjenta Germany
Travatan Z USA
Truvada Canada
Uloric Italy
Ventolin HFA UK
Vesicare Ireland
Viagra Ireland
Victoza 3-Pak Denmark
Viibryd Taiwan
Voltaren Gel Germany
Vytorin Singapore
Vyvanse USA
Welchol Austria
Xarelto Germany or USA (Puerto Rico)
Xopenex HFA USA
Zetia USA
Zostavax USA
Drug selection is based on Q1 2015 IMS Health Data of the top 100 brand-name medications sold in the United States. Manufacturing locations found via https://dailymed.nlm.nih.gov/ and calling pharmaceutical companies.

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Comments
Several months ago I noticed that the generic medication, Venlafaxine was change from Teva distributor to AUR which not not work as well for me. My physician was able to request a change back which was done. Yet now Walmart Corporation, my pharmacist informed me after waiting 3 months for Teva to return, will not longer provide Teva manufactured venlafaxine. I have switched to a pharmacy that is does. The fact that my Psychiatrist can no longer prescribe a GENERIC that works for scares the bagebies out of me.
I would suggest that further research is indicated regarding your premises. Why we would assume that drugs from China and India and other countries who manufacture the majority of drugs (Brand and generic) sold to the U.S. would be any different for Canada? They also purchase medications from unscrupulous manufacturers in China. If they do not purchase the completed product, they are purchasing ingredients, active and inactive, to manufacture their medications. It is a disservice, in my opinion, to lead people to believe that if they could just get their drugs from Canada they would be in better shape financially and medically.
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