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Pfizer Issues Lipitor Recall Due to Strange Smell

Armen Hareyan's picture
Lipitor 40 mg recall

Strange odor has prompted Pfizer to expand cholesterol lowering Lipitor recall, which now reaches to 19,000 bottles.

The group said in a statement that the recall refers to only one lot of Lipitor 40 mg tablets. The action was initiated after the company received reports of strange odor emanating from the bottles in which the pills were packaged.

According to the company, these bottles were supplied by a third party subcontractor and Pfizer has already identified the source. This subcontractor's name is not revealed in the company's statement.

Pfizer's decision to recall 19,000 bottles of its cholesterol lowering drug Lipitor, which is also used to reduce heart health risks, is the result of "increased surveillance of odor-related issues after other reports in the industry."

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The current Lipitor recall is already the fourth in 2010. There have been three previous similar actions, taken by the company, in August, October and November as a response to complaints of rare abnormal smell.

Pfizer says the health risks associated with the strange smell are "minimal." This odor comes from particles of a fungicide (2,4,6-tribromoanisole) "found in very small quantities in the bottle due to the complaint." This smell has been the cause of the first recall, mentioned above.

This particular odor helps to protect the wooden pallets on which products are stored and carried. However, Pfizer says it "Pfizer prohibits the utilization of TBP-treated wood in the shipment of its medicines." The company said this lot was packaged before it prohibited using TBP-treated wooden pallets for medical shipments.

Pfizer says it has taken "rigorous measures" to prevent smell related issues in the future.

Lipitor, a cholesterol lowering drug, is one of the top selling and actively advertised medications in the world. According to AFP report, its sales exceed 10 billion dollars annually.