Pfizer announced a recall of about 19,000 bottles of Lipitor tablets after a report of a bad odor in a bottle of Lipitor. It has been a while since the last Lipitor recall. No, wait that is not quite right. There was one in October. This is the fourth Lipitor recall since August with complaints of an odor problem.
The odor seems to be caused by the same problem: a chemical called TBA that comes from a wood preservative commonly used in shipping pallets. Johnson & Johnson had the same problem in a big way with Tylenol.
On the Recall Richter scale, this Lipitor recall ranks a .001. This is a common problem drug companies have and there is no evidence – so far anyway – that the TBA causes injury. No one wants to open up a bad smelling drug so Pfizer takes a little bad medicine PR. But, in the end, the Pfizer recalls I’m worried about are the ones that are harming people. This recall is like news on Lindsay Lohan: interesting but, ultimately, of no consequence.