Check your prescription container to see if a manufacturer is listed on the label. If your bottle says "Ranbaxy," call or take it back to the pharmacy where you filled the prescription to find out if it's been recalled. The pharmaceutical company Ranbaxy announced recently that it was recalling 41 lots of generic Lipitor (atorvastatin) due to concerns that they might contain small glass particles.
The Food and Drug Administration says the glass particles are so small they are unlikely to cause safety concerns, but the possibility of harm cannot be ruled out. Our medical advisers recommend that if your medication is included in the recall, return it to the pharmacy where you filled the prescription for an exchange. The recall affects 10 mg, 20 mg and 40 mg strengths of the drug, but not the 80 mg dose.
Pharmacy spokespeople at CVS and Costco told us they will work with customers to replace the recalled medication. Costco confirmed that there will be no charge to the patient. Walgreens and Target told us their pharmacy customers should not be affected, since they don't stock the Ranbaxy product that was recalled. Walmart and Kmart didn't return our requests for information.
Versions of generic Lipitor made by other manufacturers, including Apotex, Dr. Reddy's Lab, Mylan, Pfizer, and Watson, aren't affected by the recall. If there is not a manufacturer listed on your prescription bottle and you are unsure if your medication is part of the recall, contact your pharmacy.
Ranbaxy's generic Lipitor represents about 40 percent of the market for all medications, according to our Consumer Reports Best Buy Drugs internal analysis of prescription sales data. Some reports have expressed concern for a short-term shortage of atorvastatin while Ranbaxy works to remedy its manufacturing problems. But retailers we spoke with have made other arrangements.
"I don't anticipate a shortage and pharmacies can normally get another brand in stock within 24 hours," says Nate Eilers, RPh, of Costco.
The FDA has also said is does not expect a shortage will occur.
FDA Statement on the Ranbaxy Atorvastatin Recall [FDA]
Ranbaxy atorvastatin recall announcement [Ranbaxy]
Editor's note: Additional reporting and editing by Steve Mitchell.