Pharma Companies Ignore the Religious/Dietary Preferences of Millions Every Day !
Approximately 500 Billion generic and branded capsules are manufactured and sold each year globally. North America and Europe account for about 60% of this volume, distributed between pharmaceutical applications and health and nutrition (H&N)supplements. The FDA and other regulatory bodies actively monitor the active ingredients on the medicinal side, but are more lax in the H&N space. Yet for all of the regulation, most consumers are unaware of what goes into the basic capsule shell which they take on prescription or to get their daily vitamins. The fact of the matter is that 80-90% of all capsules produced globally come from animal products.
Gelatin, the main component of most capsules, comes from cattle, pig, and poultry hides and bones. Most vegetarian and religiously restrictive consumers would not consent to consuming such capsules if they knew of their origins. Alternatives are available in the form of vegetable based capsules and plant based alternatives, notably hydroxypropyl methylcellulose (HPMC). However, due to cost, most pharma and generic drug makers including Pfizer, Novartis, BMS, Mylan, and GSK still rely on gelatin for over 95% of their capsules. The average cost per gelatin capsule in less than $0.01. HPMC can cost 50% to 100% more than gelatin, but the overall cost is small relative to the retail cost of the drugs due to the API’s and intellectual property involved. Most of these companies generate billions in profits, while deceiving customers by not disclosing what goes into their bodies. Most consumers would vote with their feet, if only they had a clue.