Vaccine Recall

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Did anyone catch this very underplayed announcement?

Merck has recalled 1.2 million doses of the Hib vaccine, specifically PedvaxHib and Comvax. The recall was issued because, according to Merck, “The company cannot assure sterility for these specific vaccine lots.” According to their Q&A in regards to the recall they have this to say:

“The potential for contamination of any individual vaccine is low, and, if present, the level of contamination would be low. However, because they cannot guarantee the sterility of these specific lots of vaccine, Merck is conducting this recall.”

Uh huh. Sure. Also interesting to note. Neither Merck or the FDA are big on advertising this recall on their main pages. There is absolutely no announcement or link to a recall announcement on their front pages. Why?

Take Merck for example. Even when you click on “Patients and Caregivers” there is nothing mentioned. Nor is it mentioned if you follow the “Product News” section in the bottom middle of their homepage. And if you type in the keyword “recall” in their search function it returns nothing in regards to the current recall. The only place you’ll find this hidden gem on their website is by clicking on the header “Newsroom” under “Press Releases”. For a company whose motto is “Where patients come first,” they sure seem to be challenged in communicating important safety information to their patients.

As far as the Food and Drug Administrations website goes the only way I could find info on the recall was to type in “merck recall” into the search function. I found no info on their Homepage, under Hot Topics, under Recalls & Alerts, under Press Releases, or under Drug Safety. The keyword search of recall also does not return the Merck Recall (at least not on the first page, I didn’t feel like searching through all 10 pages). Nope. To find information on this recall from the FDA or Merck you basically all ready need to know it exists.

Thank you Nikki for pointing out to me that I didn’t even find the current recall from the FDA site. The link I found by searching “Merck Recall” was from a recall back in 2001. She finally found the correct recall by searching under “Comvax Recall.” Astounding. I find it hard to believe that the FDA couldn’t find a simpler way to communicate this recall.

Here are the links to where I finally found the announcement of this recall on both sites:

FDA: http://www.fda.gov/cber/recalls/merhav121001.htm

http://www.fda.gov/cber/recalls/merckhib121107.htm – thank you Nikki!

Merck: http://www.merck.com/newsroom/press_releases/product/2007_1212.html

By the way, I took screen-shots of these websites to illustrate my point but I can’t figure out how to get the screen-shots into wordpress. It doesn’t allow me to paste and I can’t figure out how to save the screen-shots as an image that I could upload. If anyone knows how to do this, please let me know.

And why no screen-time on the news? Why did Brittney Spears and Stacy Peterson and every other news story that doesn’t affect the average American take precedence over this recall alert? Because pharmaceutical companies have their hands in many arenas of life that many of us don’t recognize or don’t want to believe.

So help spread the word. Because you can believe this would be the top news story airing around the nation if this vaccine had been manufactured in say, China…

Editing to add:

There also seems to be a lack of online news coverage of this recall as well. I’m hoping everyone will air this story more starting tomorrow 12/13. For now, here are the top results from google on “Merck Recall”. Notice the almost complete lack of real information on this recall. When you search “Merck Recall” most of the results belong to other recalls that have occured in the past.

Reuters, the number 1 result, dedicated a whole 3 sentences to the recall: http://www.reuters.com/article/governmentFilingsNews/idUSWBT00804820071212

Huliq.com: http://www.huliq.com/44645/hib-vaccine-recall-merck-due-contamination

Emaxhealth: http://www.emaxhealth.com/90/19013.html

MSNBC: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/22224884/

Additionaly, when I searched under “Vaccine Recall” the top result was still Reuters outstanding 3 sentence coverage. Also pulled up were:

About.com: http://pediatrics.about.com/b/2007/12/12/hib-vaccine-recall.htm

Winknews.com: http://www.winknews.com/news/local/12448056.html

The search also returned the Huliq, emaxhealth and TADA…

**the FDA recall (which was the last result on page 1 – interesting)

Thanks to Amercianmum for your viewing pleasure I give you the following screen shots taken just after midnight on 12/13/2007.

 

**Merck’s Home Page**

Nothing in regards to recall

Merck Home Page on 12/13

**Merck’s Patients & Caregivers Page**

Still no info about recall…

Merck Patients and Caregivers

**Merck Product News**

Nope, nothing here…

Merck Product News

**Merck Newsroom**

Finally!! Something about the recall

Merck Newsroom

 

Here are the FDA screen-shots. There is no excuse.

 

**The FDA Homepage Top Screen**

Nothing at all in regards to Merck Recall

FDA Homepage Top

 

**FDA Homepage Bottom Page**

Nothing here either…

FDA Homepage Bottom

**FDA Link to Press Releases**

Nothing here…

FDA Press Releases

 

**FDA Recalls Top of Page**

Wouldn’t it make sense for it to be here? It’s not…

FDA Recalls Top Page

**FDA Recalls Middle Page**

It wasn’t further down the screen either, look at the dates

FDA Recalls Middle Page

Here is the first FDA Search. Searched “Recall”

Nothing here…

***FDA Search “Recalls”

How about if I add an “S”? …. Nope, still nothing

***FDA Search: Merck Recall”

This should definitely pull it up. Nope, the old recall of 2001

FDA Search

FDA Search “Comvax Recall”

Tada there it is…

FDA Search

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4 comments

  1. sarah · December 18, 2008

    HI, I just saw this as I was doing a search, sorry for the year late reply. haha

    I wanted to mention a couple of things. First, they knew about the situation at least a month before the recall. They stopped shipment on the product mid November for an undisclosed reason, presumably due to the lack of sterility which I’d still like to know how they discovered so late in the game. After several months of children receiving the vaccines, and a month after shipment was halted, they suddenly issued a recall. Why? Obviously they were concerned enough to stop shipping it, but did not recall those already shipped. There must have been SOME REASON for the sudden recall a month later.

    So here’s my experience with the recalled vaccines. My daughter was terribly ill after her vaccinations. The dr said he didn’t know what was wrong with her- she had fever off and on for 7 weeks, high pitched screaming, rashes, ear infections….she was well for a short time when she was vaccinated again and was terribly ill again, this time with blisters inside her throat. She saw several drs, none suggested a reaction to the vaccines. In fact, I started asking about a possible link and was told that was impossible. They even said it was normal for her to be sick all the time. This was before cold weather hit, she was breast fed exclusively (not even solids yet) and was not in church nurseries or daycare and her siblings were at home as well, and not sick.

    I knew that it was not normal for her to be ill all the time and when it came time for her third dose of Comvax in October, I refused it. She got well, and has stayed well ever since. And in December when Comvax was recalled I asked her dr if that caused her to get sick and I was told what it says in the article, that no children were harmed by the tainted vaccines. Well, if all doctors were doing what my 4-5 doctors did, then none of the bad reactions to vaccines were reported. However, they may have figured out something was wrong when children started dying and a link was found to their recent vaccines, and then it was determined that it was the Hib vaccine. One lady’s son received TWO DOSES of the Comvax by mistake and died.

    So anyway, I don’t trust them at all and did not get my daughter vaccinated any longer. She has been perfectly healthy ever since- I feel so bad that she was sick for six months. She could hardly even sleep and cried all the time. She turned into a healthy, happy and joyful baby once she got well.

    sarah

  2. journeytocrunchville · December 13, 2007

    Wow. Thanks for pointing that out. Seriously. I can’t believe that you would have to know the name of Comvax to pull it up. I will edit the blog…

  3. Nikki · December 13, 2007

    Hey – thanks for the info. Looks like you STILL didn’t find the info on the FDA page though. That link is to an old recall from 2001.

    I found it:
    http://www.fda.gov/cber/recalls/merckhib121107.htm

    I did a search of fda.gov on “comvax recall” to find that link.

    About screenshots: I don’t know anything about wordpress, but are you able to paste the images into Microsoft Word? Can you upload Word files here?

  4. americanmum · December 13, 2007

    To get a screenshot onto wordpress:

    1) hit “print screen” when looking at the webpage

    2) open Microsoft Paint or some other graphics program

    3) use the paste function to put it into the graphics program

    4) File-Save As JPEG

    5) upload your new saved JPEG onto the web someplace like photobucket

    6) copy the image URL

    7) when editing your post on wordpress, hit the little tree icon to put in your image

    8) put the url in the space provided and hit OK

    that should do it!

    By the way, nice to finally meet you today…

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