Earlier this month, Ranbaxy Pharmaceuticals issued a recall of the generic drug atorvastatin, the generic form of Lipitor, directing pharmacists not to dispense the drug because it may contain specks of glass. But the recall was only directed at the retail level, and the company has given no direction to patients who may have bottles of the contaminated drug in their medicine cabinets. According to a statement issued on the company’s website, the recall is "being conducted with the full knowledge" of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. So where does that leave the 3 to 4 million patients who take the drug?
In an interview with CNN, a spokesperson for the FDA was unable to answer why the recall isn’t advising consumers to stop taking pills and instead referred questions about the recall to Ranbaxy’s website.
A sampling of pharmacies found different policies about the recall. Express Scripts refuses to offer customers any exchange for the possibly contaminated pills. CVS pharmacies are telling their customers it’s okay to continue taking the pills, but are offering exchanges for those who want another brand. Consumer Reports is advising customers to return all potentially contaminated medication and ask for another brand.
The North Carolina Injury Lawyer Perspective:
Ranbaxy Pharmaceuticals, which is based in India and is one of the biggest pharmaceutical companies in the world, has run into problems with the FDA in the past. The federal agency has even accused the company of "a pattern of systemic fraudulent conduct" over a period of years for fabricating data in drug applications, taking shortcuts in crucial quality tests, and violating numerous additional manufacturing standards. In 2008, the company was banned from importing over 30 different drug products in this country – a ban that is still in effect today.
It is inconceivable that not only wouldn’t the company recall all potentially contaminated medication (including medication already sold), but that the FDA is allowing them to get away with not issuing a total recall. We can only hope that all consumers who may be affected hear about the recall and dispose of the medication before someone is seriously injured.
Ranbaxy Pharmaceutical's Princeton NJ division
If you have been injured by a dangerous or defective drug, you may be able to hold the company that manufactured and marketed the drug accountable by filing claims for compensation. Read this article to begin learning about your legal rights and options when a faulty product leads to injuries.