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Understanding Drug Recalls

Submitted by LCO Health Center Pharmacy

There has been much publicity in the media surrounding drug recalls. This can be disturbing to patients and family members of patients that take certain medications.

Pharmacy receives notices of drug recalls by letter, fax, or email. We immediately check our inventory carefully to make sure we do not have any of that lot number in stock. We also keep a notebook of all drug recalls that we have received.

There are 3 classes of drug recalls:

“Class I Recall” This level signifies significant and immediate danger of death or other serious injury from the use of the product being recalled.

“Class II Recall” This in an intermediate threat level. There is no immediate danger of death or other serious injury linked to the product, but the risk of death or serious injury is still present. This level is more preventative in nature, but there are still health and safety risks involved.

“Class III Recall” This level poses no immediate or perceived danger of any health issues, but where items have been released that are in violation of FDA regulations.

Years ago recalls were designated as recalled to the patient level (most serious), recalled to the pharmacy level, and recalled to the warehouse level (least serious).

A few important points about drug recalls:

1) Never stop a drug unless your doctor or pharmacist tells you to. If your doctor tells you to stop a drug they will generally start you on a different drug.

2) Pharmacy will notify you if there is a serious recall to the patient level.

3) MANY manufacturers make the same drug and each manufacturer has MANY different lot numbers of each drug. Recalls are very specific to manufacturer and lot number.

For more information on drugs recalls you can go to the FDA’s website at: or on Twitter at @FDArecalls. Once at the FDA’s website you see recalls for: animal and veterinary, biologics, cosmetics, dietary supplements, and drugs. Select drugs and you will see all recalls.

For further information on drug recalls feel free to contact Pharmacy Staff at 715-638-5146. We are always happy to discuss drug concerns. We want you to have fullest confidence in the drugs that we dispense.

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