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GlaxoSmithKline Recalls Over Half a Million Defective Asthma Inhalers

A recent level 2 voluntary recall has been initiated by GlaxoSmithKline as a result of a defect in the delivery system for nearly 600,000 of the company's popular asthma inhalers. As of yet, the recall is targeted at wholesalers, distributors, and sellers of the inhaler, rather than users directly.

The affected inhaler is the Ventolin HFA 200D. Fortunately, only inhalers with the following lot numbers and expirations are subject to this recall:

  • Lot # 6ZP9848, Exp. 03/18
  • Lot # 6ZP0003, Exp. 4/18
  • Lot # 6ZP9944, Exp. 04/18

The issue with the inhalers involves a failure to deliver an adequate dosage of the medication when activated. Some affected inhalers will have an atypical bump on the side. As such, individuals who use these inhalers may not be getting their prescribed dosages of their medication. A leak in the inhaler is linked to delivering the slightly lower dosages. However, GlaxoSmithKline has indicated that this poses little threat to individuals with asthma, but that if someone's symptoms aren't being relieved, they should seek medical care.

Voluntary Recalls

Frequently product, food, and drug makers will issue voluntary recalls for products if they discover defects. These recalls sometimes are the result of injuries sustained by consumers or the potential for injuries. However, sometimes they are the result of regulatory compliance, or could be just for quality or public perception reasons.

When recalls are issued, there are different levels that correspond with the level of danger to consumers. The voluntary level 2 recall issued by GlaxoSmithKline was issued as a level 2 because it is unlikely to harm users of the inhaler, but the risk of harm is still present. For instance, if a user takes multiple doses to compensate, it could result in harm. However, because medicine is a highly regulated industry, the company cannot continue to distribute inhalers that do not deliver sufficient dosages.

Level 1 recalls are reserved for products that present an urgent or immediate danger to users or the public. While level 3 recalls are reserved for products that pose virtually no danger to consumers, but may violate legal regulations.

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