Pfizer recalled over 650,000 bottles of Advil Liqui-Gels in March 2012 due to a strange odor. There were no health and safety concerns over the units.
The recall of 653,000 bottles of Advil Liqui-Gels was prompted by consumers calling in and reporting an unusually strong smell when opening the bottle for the first time. After confirming the problem and locating which lots of medication were affected, Pfizer recalled a total of 8 lots. All the bottles originated at the same manufacturing plant: Catalent Argentina.
There are no safety issues associated with the recall. The company has isolated the problem to a longer-than-usual enzymatic hydrolysis time. This is a procedure used to process gelatin present in the tablets. The over-processed gelatin gave off the strong smell.
Other products in the Advil line are unaffected, including Advil Liqui-Gels produced at other locations.
This case is a stark contrast to the Excedrin recall in January 2012 where there was a concern of damaged pills and medications being placed in the wrong bottles. Excedrin’s entire product line was recalled and may not be available until 2013, though some estimates say it will be on the shelves as early as October 2012.
Though our particular focus is on NSAIDs (ibuprofen in Advil and aspirin in Excedrin), these two recalls were only two of over 150 million units of medication recalled in the first quarter of 2012. Of these recalls, 141 million units were over-the-counter medications like Advil or Excedrin, a 63% increase over last year’s number. The FDA says that Excedrin’s recall makes up a significant percentage of that number as the single largest recall action of early 2012.
The recall of Advil Liqui-Gels was started with the consumers getting in touch with the company. This is why it’s important to pay close attention to the medicines we are taking and to speak up when something doesn’t seem quite right. This time there was no safety risk, but similar actions in the future could save lives.