Pfizer Inc., the world's largest drug maker has done issued Lipitor recall -- recalling 191,000 bottles of the cholesterol fighter based on a "musty odor" emitting from some bottles. Reuters reports that the recall was prompted by consumer reports of the odor, although the company maintains that there are no adverse health problems from the unwelcome stench.
Lipitor is the world's largest-selling prescription drug, with annual sales over $11 billion. In total, seven lots of 40 milligrams of Lipitor were recalled -- five in the U.S. and three in Canada. All the recalled bottles came from a third party supplier that Pfizer declined to identify.
Reuters quotes Pfizer spokesman Rick Chambers, "We're working closely with the supplier to guarantee that we can meet our supply demand, including changing the way that the bottles are packaged at the bottle supplier, decreasing time to delivery, and relocating some bottle production to other facilities operated by the supplier." Interestingly enough, Johnson and Johnson also recalled Tylenol, Motrin, and other healthcare products following reports of odors coming from bottles; although the Johnson and Johnson recall was much larger in scope and scale than the Pfizer Lipitor recall.
Drug recalls, on some level, are fairly common considering the serious risk to a user's health a bad product can have. There are three scenarios which lead to a drug recall: by the company, by FDA request, or by FDA order. The Pfizer Lipitor recall falls into the first category and serves more as a preventative measure on the part of the drug company that anything else. This move can also been seen as helping to limit liability if it is eventually determined that there are health risks with the recalled bottles -- by removing the product from the stream of commerce as soon as Pfizer was alerted to it, the company is seen as being proactive and limiting exposure and lawsuits.