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The Cost of Medicinal Recalls

  • May 17, 2017
  • RPh on the Go

cost of medicinal recallsWith the recent recall of albuterol inhalers, a voluntary recall by GlaxoSmithKline, pharmacies across the country are scrambling to get the word out. Medicinal recalls are one of the most concerning types of recalls that there are. One does begin to wonder what kind of impact a recall has on the pharmacy.

Cost of Time

When there is a recall, it’s common for pharmacists to gather up the staff and make the formal announcement of the recall. Notices are also posted in the drug rooms and the waiting areas so that both staff and clientele are notified. The next line of defense is often sending email notifications and automated calls. The FDA now has the capability of allowing people to be notified directly from them of any recalls.  Finally, each staff person speaks with a prescriber that typically uses that medicine to be sure that they are educated about that recall before using their prescription that may be at home. All these things can be a time-consuming endeavor that can cause longer hours in the pharmacy to keep up with the needs of the community.

Cost of Health

The worst thing that could happen is that someone doesn’t get the email, or listen to the automated call, and ends up using the medicine and gets ill. This can cause unnecessary medical bills and then the extra expense of additional medicines that the patient may not have needed in the long run. On the flip side, if the patient chooses to wait out the recall and avoid getting a comparable substitute, they can experience a relapse in health. In either case, pharmacists would prefer that the patient has access to what they need and when they need it.

Cost of Higher Priced Meds

One of the harshest prices is the rolling effect of cost. When a pharmaceutical company loses money on a recalled medicine, they must make up for it elsewhere. This results in raising the price of other medicines to recoup losses. Many Americans are already struggling with the excessive cost of medicines and the increase can lead many to have to make the difficult choice of paying a bill or buying their meds. In severe cases, they may have to choose between eating and buying their meds.

In the ideal world, medicines would not need to be recalled. There would be sufficient testing to be sure that all risks are revealed. Then we could lower the costs of the medicines in some ways. We could take care of one another in an efficient way. Hopefully, we will get there. Until then, we work hard at making our patients aware of what is happening with medicines

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