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:
http://www.fda.gov/cber/recalls/merckhib121107.htm – thank you Nikki!
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
Additionaly, when I searched under “Vaccine Recall” the top result was still Reuters outstanding 3 sentence coverage. Also pulled up were:
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’s Patients & Caregivers Page**
Still no info about recall…
**Merck Product News**
Nope, nothing here…
Finally!! Something about the recall
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 Bottom Page**
Nothing here either…
**FDA Link to Press Releases**
**FDA Recalls Top of Page**
Wouldn’t it make sense for it to be here? It’s not…
**FDA Recalls Middle Page**
It wasn’t further down the screen either, look at the dates
Here is the first FDA Search. Searched “Recall”
***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 “Comvax Recall”
Tada there it is…