Generic Drug Nightmare

Open up your bathroom medicine cabinet and you will see what most of us see; generic prescription drugs. There was a time when we all had to ask for the generic versions of name-brand drugs in order to save some of our hard earned money, but things are different now as most health care plans insist on charging a large deductible for brand name drugs or will not pay for them at all if a generic version is available.

As a society, we place our trust in physicians, pharmacists and the federal government that these drugs are safe and properly labeled with known side effects, even though many generics drugs are manufactured overseas in facilities beyond the regulation and oversight of our national medical, governmental and legal systems.

I never knew how dangerous that was until I shot pictures for a New York Times story, “Generic Drugs Prove Resistant to Damage Suits.”

Last year, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that drug companies who develop and manufacture proprietary, name-brand drugs are not responsible for the labeling of generic equivalents of their products manufactured by other, often foreign, companies. As a result of this ruling, pharmaceutical companies, who have listed the side effects and known medical complications associated with taking their name-brand drugs, cannot be sued or held responsible by injured patients who have taken improperly labeled generic versions of their drugs.

I photographed Camille Baruch, an 18 year-old girl who had developed gastrointestinal disease after taking the generic version of the anti-acne drug Accutane when she was 12 years old. Eight surgeries later, including the removal of her large intestine, Camille faces a lifetime of debilitating health problems.

Her parents, doctors and lawyers are powerless to seek damages on her behalf.

Camille put a human face on this frightening and compelling subject and bravely agreed to let me continue to follow her and tell her story. I look forward to spending time with her in the coming months.


Posted on Thursday, July 19th, 2012 under Blog. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

2 responses to “Generic Drug Nightmare”

  1. Lynne Terveer says:

    Cami Baruch was my niece. She is greatly missed and I think about her, and others in the same situation, every day. It would be helpful, to those who wish to take action to change the current laws and regulations, to have a list of agency and individual names and addresses to which letters and petitions may be sent. If things are not changed, we could all find ourselves in the same situation. Thank you.

  2. amanda terveer says:

    we all lovd cami sh was my cousin i barly knew her but i still luv her im her 8 year old cousin i love you camii hope god picks you to be my gardian angel

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