FDA reversal: Keep taking recalled cholesterol drug

Ranbaxy Pharmaceuticals issued a recall November 9 of a generic form of Lipitor that might contain specks of glass.

Story highlights

  • Atorvastatin, or generic Lipitor, was recalled November 9
  • The FDA changed its guidance after a conference call with pharmacies and other groups
  • "We need to fix our process a little bit," says FDA official
The Food and Drug Administration advised patients Friday to keep taking a popular cholesterol drug even though it might contain specks of glass, reversing advice it gave just a day ago.
Millions of people take Ranbaxy Pharmaceutical's generic Lipitor, or atorvastatin, and many have been calling pharmacies confused about whether to take the drugs they have in their medicine cabinets.
Ranbaxy initiated a recall November 9 and told pharmacies to stop dispensing the drug, but gave no advice to consumers about what to do with what was in their medicine cabinets.
Dr. Janet Woodcock, director of the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, said the agency would review how it handles communication to the public during recalls.
"It took us some time to figure out what was going on," she said. "We need to fix our process a little bit."
Elizabeth Cohen
Between 3 million and 4 million people take Ran