The U.S. Food and Drug Administration finalized guidance to help companies prepare to quickly and effectively remove violative products from the market. The guidance describes steps companies should take, before a recall is necessary, to develop recall policies and procedures that include training, planning and record-keeping to reduce the time a recalled product is on the market and, thus, limit the public’s exposure to risk.
A voluntary recall is an action taken by a company to correct a violative product or remove it from the market. A recalling company may act on its own initiative or the FDA may inform the company that a distributed product violates the law and recommend the company recall the product. The FDA has the authority to require recalls of certain products in particular circumstances, such as controlled substances, biological products, human cells, tissues and cellular and tissue-based products, medical devices and foods.
“Voluntary recalls continue to be the fastest, most effective way for a company to correct or remove violative and potentially harmful products from the market to help keep consumers safe,” said Associate Commissioner of Regulatory Affairs Judith McMeekin, Pharm. D. “It is critical that all companies in the supply chain are ‘recall ready’ to ensure appropriate actions are taken swiftly across the distribution channels to best protect public health and the integrity of the supply chain. We will continue to work with companies to improve their recall procedures and minimize Americans’ exposure to potentially harmful products.”
The guidance also urges companies to act quickly to initiate a recall when public health is at risk and to do so prior to completing an investigation into the cause of the problem. Because recalls can affect the entire supply chain, including downstream suppliers, wholesalers or vendors, the FDA recommends that companies develop recall procedures to quickly inform their entire distribution chain, so consignees can rapidly identify affected lots and recall downstream products when necessary.