From headache medicine to cough syrup, consumers trust over-the-counter medicines to be safe. Because we trust the government to properly regulate these products, consumers may assume they are always safe. This misunderstanding can lead to deadly consequences.
Over-the-counter (OTC) drugs let us easily access medicines that are safe to use without a doctor having to prescribe them. According to the FDA, more than 100,000 OTC drugs are available to consumers, made up of some combination of approximately 800 specific medications. Not only must shoppers take care to use these medicines as directed, they must also be vigilant about watching for recalls.
Safe Use of OTC Medicines is Vital
Overdosing on OTC medications is common. Many consumers fail to carefully read labels when administering medication to themselves or their children. They may also fail to realize that a second medicine, designed for different symptoms, may contain the same active ingredient. Taking two medicines with the same ingredient can easily lead to overdose, illness and sometimes death.
Taking care to read labels is a protective step within each consumer’s control, but what happens when medications are defective?
How can consumers know about recalls?
The first step is to understand the different levels of recall. According to the Cleveland Clinic Department of Pharmacology, recalls may affect products on three levels:
- Wholesale level: Distribution chains between manufacturers and retailers
- Retail level: Wholesale level plus hospitals, pharmacies and grocers
- Consumer level: All distribution chains including consumers
Recalls can also fall in different categories, based on the danger presented to consumers:
- Class I Recalls: A reasonable probability exists that using or being exposed to a product will cause serious adverse health problems, or even death
- Class II Recalls: Using or being exposed to a product could cause temporary illness or medical problems, with only a remote chance of serious health consequences
- Class III Recalls: Little chance exists that product will cause health problems
Stay Informed about Recalls!
With the various recall types, ranging from potentially deadly to benign, it becomes easy for consumers to ignore recall messages, especially when most involve minor problems that would not cause harm. At the same time, it is important to know when serious recalls occur. Consumers can keep track of recalls easily by installing a simple app on their mobile phones from the FDA. The Product Recalls App lets users scroll through recent recalls and look up specific products that may be of concern. Consumers can easily find out the reason for recall and level of danger presented. With easy to use apps like this, checking on recalls becomes fast and easy.
If you experience an adverse health event from an OTC drug, you should report the incident to the FDA’s MedWatch program immediately, to ensure the problem is investigated. If you experience serious medical consequences, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries.
If you or someone you care about suffered harm from a dangerous drug, contact our offices for a free case evaluation. Because the law limits the time allowed for filing a claim, you should contact us as soon as possible.