Decade-plus review of drug recall trends from 2011 to 2023

Earlier this year, we took a look at the most common causes of drug-related recalls in 2022 and the first quarter of 2023. Now, we are expanding our lens to examine drug-related FDA recalls from 2011 to 2023.

Understanding the recall landscape

In recent decades, prominent incidents like the Tylenol poisonings in 1982 have underscored the need for attentive tracking, swift reaction and careful mitigation measures when facing possible hazards to health. To get a sense of the current landscape of pharmaceutical recalls, we analyzed an FDA dataset spanning from 2011 to 2023. The data, which includes an array of drugs and recall reasons, found that lack of assurance of sterility continues to be far and away the most common reason for pharmaceutical recalls.

Sterility issues continue to clearly be the most common reason for FDA drug recalls. Data source: FDA

While FDA recalls of drugs have fluctuated widely…

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