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Millions of acetaminophen pills recalled

Oct 10, 2006 | www.hattiesburgamerican.com

Check your medicine cabinet: Millions of bottles of the widely used pain reliever acetaminophen some sold as long as three years ago are being recalled because they may contain metal fragments.

The recall affects 11 million bottles containing varying quantities of 500-milligram acetaminophen caplets made by the Perrigo Co. The pills were sold under store brands by Wal-Mart, CVS, Piggly Wiggly and more than 120 other major retailers, the Food and Drug Administration said. At least one chain started pulling the pills from store shelves Thursday.
    
Pine Belt pharmacists have been checking the recall lists, but several said the problem has not affected their stores.

"The ones that we were notified of so far we didn't have any of," said Virgil Ishee, pharmacist at Newpointe Pharmacy.

"This particular acetaminophen is a generic brand sold at several larger stores, but there are a lot of different manufacturers out there," Ishee said.

The reports were similar at Rodgers Family Pharmacy in Petal, Fred's Discount Pharmacy on Broadway Drive and the Lincoln Road Winn-Dixie, which was on the list of 120 chains to carry the drug.

"We haven't had to pull any," store manager Donnie Holifield said.

Rodgers pharmacist Michael Broome said: "We get drugs from a different place than the other stores so our acetaminophen stock was not affected."

There were no immediate reports of injuries or illness. The contaminated pills included metal fragments ranging in size from "microdots" to portions of wire one-third of an inch long, the FDA said.

Perrigo discovered the metal bits during quality-control checks done after the company discovered its equipment was wearing down prematurely, the FDA said.

A company investigation turned up metal in roughly 200 pills of the 70 million it passed through a metal detector, according to the FDA.

Consumers who take any of the contaminated pills could suffer minor stomach discomfort or possible cuts to the mouth and throat, the FDA said.

Acetaminophen is best known as the drug in products sold under the Tylenol brand, but is widely available in typically less expensive generic versions. The drug, along with aspirin and ibuprofen, is one of the most widely used pain relievers available without a doctor's note.

CVS will stop selling its own brand of 500-milligram acetaminophen caplets and pull bottles from store shelves nationwide, spokesman Mike DeAngelis said. Messages left with the other chains were not immediately returned.

The recall does not affect Tylenol. Nor should the recall cause a shortage of acetaminophen, the FDA said.


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