Over-the-counter medicines recalled for defective packaging

Massachusetts residents know that taking any medicine in excess of that prescribed by a physician or as prescribed by the drug’s manufacturer is dangerous. But when a pharmaceutical manufacturer puts a defective product on the market, consumers may be made ill through no fault of their own.

In coordination with the federal Consumer Product Safety Commission, Novartis Consumer Health Inc. of Parsippany recently issued a nationwide recall of some 2.3 million units of two basic cold and cough syrups — Triaminic Syrups and Theraflu Warming Relief Syrups — because of defective packaging. Approximately 24 formulations of these two syrups were recalled. A complete list of recalled syrups has been posted on the company’s website. The company has recommended that consumers immediately stop using the recalled syrups, although it claims the products themselves pose no hazard to consumers.

The drugs’ packaging was supposed to include child-resistant caps because the syrups contain acetaminophen and diphenhydramine, according to the Poison Prevention Packaging Act. Both drugs are federally regulated, according to the CPSC. The caps on the bottles of recalled syrups were found to be defective, allowing children to easily open the caps without damaging the tamper-evident seals. Children then risk ingestion and poisoning.

The company has thus far received 12 complaints of children removing the locked caps. Four children ingested one of the products, and one child required medical attention.

Consumers in Massachusetts who suffer injuries or damage as a result of using a defective product may file product liability lawsuits against the negligent manufacturers. Typically, the compensation awarded in such lawsuits covers medical expenses, lost wages and damages for pain and suffering. The cost of replacing the product or reimbursing the consumer for the purchase may also be ordered.

Source: CBS 6 WTVR.com, “Triaminic, Theraflu lots recalled over defective child-resistant caps,” Alix Bryan, Jan.31, 2013