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How the public is notified about drug recalls

While flipping though television channels in Louisiana, at times viewers come across a public awareness advertisement where someone explains that a drug is being recalled because it poses a health risk. These kinds of advertisements are one way drug companies or government agencies let the public know about an unsafe drug on the market that is under a recall notice. However, this is not the only way the public is notified about drug recalls.

In addition to television spots, companies also make use of social media to let the public know that they are recalling a drug. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission points out that over two billion people use Facebook and 600 million people use Instagram, so these, among other social sites, are used as mediums to communicate recall notices. The CPSC advises companies to use images and short videos for recall notices, so you should see at least one image of the product being recalled.

Since the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) oversees drugs and medicines, anyone interested in recall news should check the FDA enforcement report to see if a drug has been recalled. The FDA will classify drugs according to severity of risk. Class I drugs pose the greatest danger to the public, Class II drugs offer moderate level of risk, and Class III present the least. A risk classification is not necessary, however, for the FDA to list a drug as recalled.

There are other ways drug recall notices are issued. The manufacturer may directly notify users of their products of the recall. Sometimes a pharmacy may inform patients who have previously visited to fill a prescription. Health care workers can also notify patients about recalled medicine. If the manufacturer does not let the public know of the recall, the FDA may step in to make a public announcement.

Even with the many ways the public can be informed about defective drugs on the market, it is still possible to unintentionally miss a public recall notice. If you are concerned about drugs that you are taking, you can proactively search the FDA website or just look online to see if your medicine has been recalled. In the event you discover your medicine is harmful, you may need to ask legal counsel about your options.

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