Advocates from the National Women’s Health Network are out in force this week at the FDA and on the Hill urging FDA officials to approve of a proposed Generic Drug Labeling Rule. This rule would give women access to better and more accurate information about the risks and benefits of the medications they are taking - regardless of whether a drug is brand-name or generic.
More than 80% of prescriptions filled in the U.S. are for generic drugs. However, as it currently stands, a woman may have no idea that the generic drug she is taking could cause devastating adverse health impacts since generic drug manufacturers are not legally permitted to update drug product labels to accurately reflect known side effects or health risks.
“Requiring all prescription drugs to carry current and adequate safety warnings is essential for improving the safety and efficacy of all FDA approved drugs as well as for shoring up needed consumer safeguards and protections,” says Cindy Pearson, Executive Director of the National Women’s Health Network. Accurate, up-to-date generic drug labels would provide the necessary information women need to ensure that they are accurately dosing and administering a drug at the appropriate levels, are aware of drug interactions with other medicines they may be taking, and have access to critical warnings and precautionary recommendations alongside known side effects and adverse reaction related information.
“As the health care decision-makers, not only for themselves but often for family members as well, women have a keen interest in ensuring that drug labels provide them with the most up to date information,” said Coco Jervis, Program Director at the National Women’s Health Network. “The FDA should not delay any further in adopting the generic drug labeling proposal, for far too long corporate profit has been privileged over the true health and safety needs of consumers.”
A meaningful commitment towards protecting the health and safety of all cannot be met without stringent enforceable FDA standards that require accurate, updated labeling information for all drugs marketed for consumer use.
The National Women’s Health Network is a nonprofit advocacy organization that works to improve the health of all women. We bring the voices of women consumers to policy and regulatory decision-making bodies. We are supported by our members and do not take financial contributions from drug companies, medical device manufacturers, insurance companies, or any other entity with a financial stake in women’s health decision-making.
Coco Jervis, J.D., is a former NWHN Program Director. With a focus on AIDS and HIV, and a law degree from Howard University School of Law, she expertly advocates for sexual and reproductive health. Coco continues her activism today as the Grant Manager for the feminist organization MamaCash.