It seems every day we hear about another medication recall. Sometimes the recall concerns a common over the counter medication and sometimes it involves a prescription medication. It makes you think twice about whether you really need the medication before you take it. But some of us have no choice and need the medication to stay healthy.

Drug recalls are serious events in the healthcare industry and here are some things you should know.

How does a drug recall usually happen?

The manufacturer of the drug can initiate the recall or the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) can prompt it. The FDA then classifies the recall and oversees the recall process. There are 3 classes of recalls, ranging in order of severity. Below is the FDA classification chart:

Recall Classification

  • Class I: A dangerous or defective product that could cause serious health problems or death.
  • Class II: A product that might cause a temporary health problem, or pose a slight threat of a serious nature.
  • Class III: A product that is unlikely to cause any adverse health reaction, but that violates FDA labeling or manufacturing laws.

How do I know when a drug has been recalled?

Unless the FDA deems the drug unsafe, the recall may not make big news. On the other hand when Walgreens, CVS and Rite Aid removed Zantac from its shelves BEFORE an FDA recall it was a big news story. In many instances, we learn of recalls from healthcare providers. If you are taking a particular medication regularly or are considering taking a medication you can search for recall information here.

What do I do if I’ve taken a now-recalled medication?

Unfortunately, sometimes these recalls don’t happen for many years after the medication comes on the market. Recently, popular medications like Zantac, Xanax (generic), and certain blood pressure drugs have been recalled publicly, leading to widespread concern from people who have taken these drugs for years. Notably, heartburn medication Zantac has been recalled for having a cancer-causing ingredient. The FDA maintains a list of recalled products and drugs that have been recently recalled.

If you have taken a recalled medication, your prescribing doctor or pharmacist can advise you on what to do next for your health. If you believe you have been harmed by a dangerous drug, call us for more information on taking legal action for your injury.