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August 13, 2013     Cape Gazette
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August 13, 2013

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Cape Gazette HEALTH & FITNESS TUESDAY, AUGUST 13- THURSDAY, AUGUST 15, 2013 1S here's something missing | from your prescription drug label, and chances are you haven't even noticed. It's the lot number. Open your cupboard and you will find lot numbers on canned goods, crackers, macaroons, mayonnaise, soup and many other items. There is a lot number on your Advil, aspirin, Metamucil and other OTC medicines. But unless the phar- macy dispenses your pills in the original packaging from the manufacturer, you won't find a lot number on your prescrip- tion bottle. Because over 80 percent of prescriptions are now generic, it is increasingly common for pharmacists to take pills out of very big bottles and repack- age them in little pill contain- ers. Most states do not require pharmacists to put the original lot number on your label. Why does it matter? In No- vember 2012, the large Indian pharmaceutical firm Ranbaxy recalled millions of atorvastatin (generic Lipitor) pills because of contamination with particles of glass. The FDA put the affected lot numbers on its website so that patients could theoretically trade in their cholesterol-low- ering drug if itwas included in the recall. One reader contacted us: "When the recall of Ranbaxy atorvastatin was announced because of glass particles in the pills, I had 30 left of a 90-day supply. The pharmacist said he had no way of tracing the lot number of my prescription. He offered to replace the pills I still had with pills from another supplier of atorvastatin. "I don't understand how man- ufacturers can track lot num- bers of cann.ed goods or cereal, yet consumers have no way of knowing if they have taken pills from recalled lot numbers. Apparently pharrhacies are not required to pass the lot number on to the user or record it in their computer system.". According to the FDA, the atorvastatin recall did not lead to any serious injury. But what if a more danger- ous problem arose? In the past, manufacturing problems have affected the dose of critical BECAUSE OVER 80 PERCENT OF PRESCRIPTIONS ARE NOW GENERIC, IT IS INCREASINGLY COMMON FOR PHARMACISTS TO TAKE PILLS OUT OF medications, been reported in connection A heart medicine called with the recall of 800 million digoxin (generic Lanoxin) has digoxin tablets manufactured for patients to know if their If OTC medications and may- a very narrow range of aafety, in New Jersey by the Actavis pills were part of the recall, onnaise can carry lot numbers, Too much or too little can lead Group. Since pharmacists are notperhaps it is time for pharma- to serious, if not fatal, out- "The tablets were recalled be- required to keep track of the cies to make sure lot numbers comes, cause of the possibility that the manufacturer or the lot number are also added to prescription In April, 2008 it was discov- strength of tablets was greater of the pills they dispense to drug labels. ered that one company had than labeled and might provide patients, they have a hard time manufacturing problems with a potentially lethal overdose to contacting people who might its digoxin pills, patients taking the drug to aid be affected by a recall. Joe Graedonisa pharmacologist, and Teresa Graedon is a medical anthropologist. Write The Institute for Safe Medi- failing hearts," (QuarterWatch, In our high-tech modern to them in care of King Features Syndicate, cation Practices issued a report May 7, 2009). world of computers and bar 888 Seventh Ave New York, NY 10019,or on the problem: "More than Because lot numbers are not codes, one would think that this at 1,000 patient deaths have now required on labels, it was hard is a solvable problem. TWO CONVENIENT LOCATIONS IN SOUTHERN DELAWARE RT. 113 (28538 DUPONT BLVD) (302) 934-5052 WALK-IN CARE* SUMMER SCHEDULE 7 DAYS A WEEK Monday-Thursday, 3 p.m.-7 p.m Friday-Sunday, 11 a.m.-7 p.m. BEEBE OUTPATIENT SERVICES Beebe Imaging Monday-Friday, 7 a.m.-S p.m Saturday, 6 a.m.-Noon Walk-in X-ray I Mammography Beebe Lab Express Monday-Friday, 6 a.m.-S p.m Saturday, 6 a.m.-Noon Beebe Rehab (302) 934-1500 232 Mitchell Street, Millsboro M0nday-Friday, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Physical Therapy I Occupational Therapy [ Speech and Language Pathology MILLVILLE RT. 26 (203 ATLANTIC AVE) WALK-IN CARE* SUMMER SCHEDULE 7 DAYS A WEEK Memorial Day Weekend to Labor Day: Sunday-Saturday, 8 a.m.-8 p.m After Labor Day: Call for hours and days of operation or visit (302) 541-4175 BEEBE OUTPATIENT SERVICES Beebe Imaging (302) 539-8749 Monday-Friday, 7 a.m.-5 p.m Saturday, 6 a rn.-Noon CT Scan [ MRI [ Ultrasound [ X-ray Digital Mammography Bone Oensitometry Beebe Lab Express (302) 539-1620 Monday-Friday, 6 a.m.-5 p.m Saturday, 6 a.m.-Noon Beebe Rehab (302] 539-6404 Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Physical Therapy i Occupational Therapy I Speech and Language Pathology *Beebe Physician Network VERY BIG BOTTLES AND REPACKAGE THEM IN LITTLE PILL CONTAINERS.