Clark, Love & Hutson, GP

Examining the basics of drug recalls

Texans can scarcely go to a supermarket, gas station or convenience store without running into shelves filled with medicine. In part, that is because these medicines provide a wealth of benefits from calming a headache to drying up a runny nose. But not all of these medicines work as intended; sometimes something goes awry. When it does, Texans can be hurt.

What can be done to minimize the damage from an unsafe drug? A drug recall. These recalls are generally instituted when the FDA or the drug maker learn of issues with the drug such as receiving reports from the public that something is wrong.

Why are drugs recalled? For many reasons the most of which being that the drug is a health hazard. For example, in 2000, many decongestants and weight-loss medicines were pulled from shelves when it was discovered that an ingredient in those drugs, phenylpropanolamine aggravated a person's chance of stroke or brain bleeding.

Beyond being a health hazard, drugs are usually recalled for one of four things. First, the drug could have been mislabeled or poorly packaged. For instance, the packaging could contain a confusing label that prompts people to use the wrong dosage. Or sometimes the dosing tool that comes with the tool could have a problem. Second, the drug could be contaminated. This sometimes happens when a drug mixes with other drugs while being made. Third, a drug may not be what the packaging claims it to be. In these cases, a Texan could think they are taking a pain reliever when they're actually taking something else. Finally, the drug could have been poorly made whether in terms of quality, purity, potency or something else.

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