Pharmaceutical Recalls and You

Pharmaceutical Recalls and You

It doesn’t happen often that the recall of a drug is covered in local and national news. Lately, Valsartan has been a popular drug topic:  in the pharmacy, among prescribers and with our patients.  At Drug ID, one of the reasons for creating the app was medication safety.  Though the purpose of the app is to identify medications, we felt we would take a moment and discuss this side of safety: medication recalls.

Valsartan is not “special” in that there was a recall. Unless you work in a pharmacy, you may not realize how many recalls there actually are. Most recalls are just at a retail level. This means your pharmacy sends back the medication and a new manufacture comes in to replace it.   Just because your pharmacist says, “this medication may look different but it is the same, it’s just a MANUFACTURE CHANGE” does not mean your medication was recalled. The supplier probably just ran out of that specific manufacture, but that’s a topic for a different time.

The reason we all heard of Valsartan in the media and are having frequent conversations about the drug is because almost all of the drug was recalled.  If one specific strength or manufacturer hasn’t been recalled, we are expecting to see it get recalled. The other reason for high media coverage for Valsartan is the recommendation to have a conversation with your doctor, who prescribed it,  to see if they can change you to a different medication. Here is our quick PSA: if you are currently taking Valsartan, talk to your doctor about switching before you try to refill it.

Here is the great part: you don’t have to manage the recalls and pay attention to them – your pharmacy is on top of that. Recalls are just there to add an extra layer of safety to your pharmacy experience. We know that the pharmacy is usually a place you visit to get your monthly refills or pick up a prescription when you are sick or in pain. With that in mind, the goal of a pharmacist is to keep your health in the best state possible. SO, if you have questions: ask your pharmacist and know they have your best interest. And for all those that work in a pharmacy: thank you for constantly checking your shelves and managing the many medication recalls received.

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