Almost everyone in the United States has taken medication sometime in their life, whether it’s over the counter or prescribed. Each year, over 4,500 drugs and medical devices are removed from the U.S. shelves. Even though drug recalls routinely happen every year to ensure the safety of the public, finding out that your medication has been recalled can be concerning. This is why it’s helpful to understand the process of drug recalls and what steps are necessary to keep you safe.   

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What is a Drug Recall and Why Does it Happen?  

A drug recall is a voluntary action taken by a manufacturer or the FDA at any time to discontinue a defective prescription drug product or an over-the-counter drug product from the market. It may seem an inconvenience, but it is the most effective way to ensure patient safety and minimize any risks or complications. Drug recalls can occur for multiple reasons, including   

  • Health Risks (Side Effects, Efficacy)  
  • Contamination  
  • Incorrectly Labeled Products  
  • Poorly Manufactured (Quality)  

Drug manufacturers and the FDA work hard to ensure that drugs are properly tested for potential complications or issues before a drug is released to the public. Even after the drug is released, they continue to monitor the drug, and if anything that might put the patient at risk arises post-release, the manufacturer or the FDA may decide to issue a recall. You can learn if your medication has been recalled through notification from the manufacturer, your healthcare provider, or the pharmacist.   

What Should You Do if Your Drug is Recalled?  

Most drug recalls can be minor but still should be taken seriously. Here is what you should do if your drug is recalled:  

Call Your Healthcare Provider or a Pharmacist  

If a drug that is prescribed to you has been recalled, that does not necessarily mean you should stop taking your medication. For example, if you are taking a blood thinner medication and suddenly stop, this may cause more harm than good. Instead, call your healthcare provider or contact a pharmacist immediately and ask for a recommended replacement.  

Get Educated  

Reading the information from the manufacturer or the FDA can help you find the reason for the drug recall. By knowing and understanding why the recall took place, you can respond accordingly. If there was an issue with the efficacy of the drug, or you experienced any side effects, you should call your healthcare provider immediately.   

Return Policy  

Most pharmacies have a return and refund policy when a manufacturer announces a recall of its products. If your medication is over the counter, bring it back to the customer service desk. If your medication is a prescription, you can return it to your pharmacy.   

Safely Discard  

If you have expired medication that has been in your cabinet for a while and has been recalled, the best way to dispose of it is to safely discard it. One way of doing so is to take it back to your pharmacy: most pharmacies have a prescription disposal bin. For more information on how to dispose of medication properly, visit the FDA website.   

Play it Safe  

If you ever notice that your prescription or over-the-counter drug has been defective or has been tampered with, immediately notify your pharmacist before taking it, whether it has been recalled or not.   

How Foley & Small can Help You  

Drug recalls can be concerning and if you think that you or someone you care about has suffered because of a medication, contact Foley & Small. We keep up to date on all drugs that have been recalled, and ones that are currently involved in class action cases. Our only concern is helping people who have suffered.

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