Cipro Needs a Remedy,
Natalia J. Garland
Recently, I received some spam e-mail from the The Pharmacy
Guide of Mexico. They were selling a "guide" to
Mexican pharmacies for $29.95, with the sales logo: "Do
you feel prepared? It's up to you..." The website listed
medications you could buy in Mexico, including antibiotics.
I'm not one to panic over bioterrorism, but preparation is
different from panic. No, I do not feel personally prepared.
I trust that my government is taking steps to protect all
citizens, and I believe that our leaders are sincere in
wanting to protect us. At present, however, there is not
enough Cipro to go around.
websites openly selling Cipro. At the Cyber Physicians
website, they are selling 6 Cipro tablets for $120.00. That
breaks down to $45.00 for the pills, $15.00 for shipping, and
$60.00 for a "consultation fee." The F.T.C.
(Federal Trade Commission) reports that there are more than
200 websites selling bioterrorism protection items such as gas
masks, test kits, and dietary supplements with the assertion
that their products will detect, prevent or treat
contamination. As of November 19th, forty e-mail warnings
were issued by the F.T.C. telling these websites to remove
such content immediately.
Cipro is illegal to import, whether you buy it over the
internet or try to take it across the border. The F.D.A.
(Food and Drug Administration) does not approve of foreign
brands of Cipro. The F.D.A. has concerns that pills purchased
over the internet could be counterfeit, contain the wrong
dosage, or be contaminated and harmful. If you order over the
internet, you may not receive any product at all. There is
little or nothing the U.S. government can do to help you get
your money back. There is also concern that the average
citizen cannot be trusted to use Cipro only if needed and in
the correct amounts.
who have no insurance, or who are elderly and lack adequate
coverage, frequent the Mexican border towns to buy essential
medications. At the Mexican border, for example, American
border officers will confiscate Cipro upon your return to the
States. The Mexican type Cipro is then sent to an F.D.A. lab
in Cincinnati for testing. I was unable to find out if any
Mexican brands of Cipro had actually been tested and what, if
any, ingredients are lacking, sub-standard, or incorrect.
Americans who buy medication in Mexico are permitted to bring
across a number of other products, however, including
penicillin and other antibiotics.
Here is the
recommended adult dosage for Cipro, according to the F.T.C.,
for post-exposure of inhaled anthrax. Adults should take 500
milligrams orally twice per day, as soon as possible after the
exposure, for 60 days. Now, if you had purchased Cipro over
the internet from Cyber Physicians, the recommended dosage
would have cost you $750.00, not including shipping and the
consultation fee. If you happen to live near the Mexican
border, you could purchase a Mexican brand of 100 Cipro
tablets for $12.99. That comes to about 3 cents per tablet.
Since you need 120 tablets for one adult, you would have to
purchase a second bottle, making your total $25.98. (It is
easy to understand why so many Americans cross the border for
Or, you might
not end up with any Cipro at all. The only approved
manufacturer of Cipro in America is Bayer Pharmaceutical
Division. At present, according to the H.H.S. (The U.S.
Department of Health and Human Services) there is enough Cipro
"in combination with other antibiotics" to treat
about 2 million people, (18.6 million doses, which Bayer
donated to the H.H.S.). Bayer has agreed to manufacture up to
300 million more tablets. The H.H.S. has agreed to pay 95
cents per tablet for the first order of 100 million tablets
(or 95 million dollars), 85 cents per tablet for the second
order, and 75 cents per tablet for the third order.
As of January,
2002, there is supposed to be enough Cipro in America to treat
12 million people. The H.H.S. has stockpiles of Cipro which
are maintained by the H.H.S. Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention. The H.H.S. states that it has eight 50-ton
packages of Cipro that can be delivered anywhere in America
within 12 hours. They expect to increase this to 12 packages
in the future.
Bayer is offering a much better deal than Cyber Physicians.
But, regarding cost, probably nothing beats the Mexican
brands. Human life is priceless, but business is a reality.
It is the availability and distribution realities that I feel
most concerned about. Bayer and the government agencies
advise not to take Cipro unless you are infected with the
bacteria. So far, that makes sense. They advise a doctor's
examination due to possible allergic reactions and
side-effects. They also do not want individual citizens
creating their own stockpiles of Cipro. This is where I
What if my
doctor does not diagnose me accurately? What if my doctor
himself dies from inhaled anthrax? What if the local hospital
cannot handle thousands of people infected with anthrax? What
if the hospital is destroyed by a suicide bomber? What if
there are some terrorist sympathizers among Bayer's employees
and they poison the Cipro? I will discuss my ideas in Part
II. (Written 01/07/02: bibliography available.)
Until we meet