Letter: Cheaper drugs that work

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The Independent Online
MAJOR pharmaceutical producers are wrong to say that the parallel drugs importing can be "harmful to patients" ("Cut- price drugs firms make pounds 150m from NHS", 31 May). I can refute this because my job is to check that one of these firms meets the safety standards of the Medicines Control Agency (MCA).

First, the storage conditions ensure that there is no product deterioration. In fact, most drugs are stored for longer periods in other parts of the supply chain. Secondly, packing and repacking systems have built-in check routines to prevent contamination by extraneous materials.

In addition, product recall systems, should they be necessary, are in place and approved by the MCA. And no pack goes out with a foreign-language patient instruction leaflet. These are removed and replaced by a leaflet in English, which is approved by the MCA. All parallel imported products have to be licensed before sale.

John R Baker

Great Barton, Suffolk

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