Nov. 19, 2018 — Since the 1990s, American drug companies, and the patients they serve, have leaned heavily on a supply chain that starts in factories on the other side of the globe. Nearly 8 out of 10 medications Americans take have some component made abroad, largely in developing industrial powers China and India. Globalization has helped keep the costs of those drugs down, but it’s also created a supply chain that’s difficult to police. That leaves pharmaceutical companies vulnerable to embarrassing recalls that may dampen the benefits of lower costs, says Robert Handfield, director of the Supply Chain Resource Cooperative at North Carolina State University. “As pharmaceutical companies have started to offshore, they’re getting more quality issues, more product recalls,” Handfield says. “It’s definitely a trend we’re seeing.” For many patients, a series of recalls of blood pressure drugs from China and India has taken that question from the realm of abstract policy straight into their medicine cabinets. Since this summer, several batches of three generic drugs used to treat high blood pressure have been recalled because they were tainted with chemicals listed as probabl...