Daily media updates in the form of press conferences and press releases as well as regular updates to the FDA website are some methods that alert consumers to important prescription drug recalls, states the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Consumer updates are also available by email and RSS feed.
All product recalls are listed in the FDA's weekly Enforcement Report according to classification, explains the FDA. The specific action taken by the recalling company is also noted. A Class 1 drug recall involves dangerous or defective products that may cause serious health problems or death, such as a label mix-up on a lifesaving drug. Class 2 products may cause a temporary health problem, such as an under-strength drug that is not used to treat life-threatening situations. Class 3 products violate FDA labeling or manufacturing laws but are unlikely to cause any adverse health reactions.
A company may discover a problem with a product and contact the FDA, or the FDA may receive reports of health problems through reporting systems, notes the FDA. In some cases, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention contacts FDA about a problem product. The need for a potential recall is sometimes discovered during an FDA inspection of a manufacturing facility. A company may recall a product on its own after discovering a problem. The FDA rarely requests recalls; most are voluntary.