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FDA urges patients to stop taking generic Lipitor after recall announced

Nov 30, 2012

The Food and Drug Administration is warning patients to stop taking the generic form of Lipitor, atorvastatin, after specks of glass were found in pills.

According to a report, the makers of the generic form of Lipitor, one of the most popular cholesterol drugs, have issued a recall on 41 Lots of atorvastatin after they were found to potentially have specks of glass contaminating them. These pills could cause serious injuries if anyone were to take them.

The recall on atorvastatin was issued more than three weeks ago by Ranbaxy Pharmaceuticals but it took until just this week for the FDA to issue a warning to the public advising them of the recall and to not take the drug. Last week, Ranbaxy agreed with the FDA that it should stop manufacturing atorvastatin, a popular generic drug, until they could determine how the affected Lots became speckled with glass particles. 

Swallowing small glass particles can lead to serious internal injuries. Small pieces of glass can lead to small but serious lacerations or organ damage and cases of severe internal bleeding. 

Despite the recall and warning from the FDA, at least one wholesale pharmacy said it was advising its customers who received atorvastatin from them to continue using the drugs - even though they are likely included in the recall - as though no actions have been taken. The spokesperson at Express Scripts said the company would not be offering refunds or replacements for its customers who believed they might have the recalled atorvastatin pills.

The FDA urges recipients of atorvastatin to contact their pharmacies to determine if they have the recalled drugs in their home but the report indicates that a pharmacy determining from which Lot their pills were picked from may be nearly impossible.

This is Ranbaxy's first recall on atorvastatin but it's not the first time the Indian company has been in trouble with domestic regulators. Ranbaxy is one of the leading producers of generic prescription medications but in 2008 was ordered to stop shipping 30 drugs to the U.S. due to "systemic" failures at the company, the FDA said, which inhibited it from manufacturing drugs that could be considered safe to patients to take without risking serious injuries or death.

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