What is a drug recall and why do they happen?

Drug recalls are not overly common, but they do happen often, even when manufacturers do their best to produce safe products. There are times when issues arise that simply cannot be avoided. Because of this, recalls must be issued to keep consumers safe from illness or injury. So, what is a drug recall and why do they happen?

Drugs are tested and monitored prior to being released to the public and must be approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) before hitting the market. When the drugs hit the market, the FDA continues to monitor them to ensure their safety. This monitoring will be able to find any issues that arise and then alert the public.

Drug recalls are announced when the items are removed from the market because it has been found that they are either defective or possibly harmful to consumers. There are two types of recalls: voluntary and mandatory. A voluntary recall occurs when the manufacturer of the drug pulls it from the market because it found a defect. A mandatory recall is when the FDA issues the recall based on complaints from the public.

There are a variety of reasons why drugs can be recalled, including:

- The drug was mislabeled or packaged poorly.

- The drug is a hazard to the consumer's health.

- The drug is possibly contaminated.

- The drug is poorly manufactured.

- The drug is not what is says.

There are some steps you can take should a drug you are using get recalled. The first is not to panic. Just because the drug was recalled doesn't mean it has hurt you. Always check with the FDA for more information about the drug and the recall. If you have a drug that has been recalled, discard it safely by returning it to your pharmacist.

It is always a good idea to call your doctor and schedule an appointment. He or she will be able to answer your questions and give you a thorough examination if you happened to be taking a drug that has been recalled.

Source: WebMD, "What Is a Drug Recall?," accessed Feb. 24, 2017

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