Recalled atorvastatin (Lipitor) reeks of mold


Recalled Lipitor smells like stepping in manure deep underground

The pharmaceutical company, Pfizer, has recalled another 38,000 bottles of its popular cholesterol-lowering medication, Lipitor, because the pills stink, literally. The contaminating odor has so far been found in two lots effecting 369,000 of the 40-mg pills. So what sniffs?

According to WebMd, the smell is believed to come from a chemical called TBA (2,4,6 tribromoanisole) used as pesticide to treat pallets on which the bottles were stored. It’s the same chemical that gives bad corked wine a tainted odor. If you’ve never smelled a bad bottle of wine, imagine walking into a musty cave underground and then suddenly stepping in a pile of chicken manure.

TBA is also the same chemical that tainted recent batches of Tylenol, Motrin and Benadryl, leading in a massive recall in January 2010. People who smelled those tainted medicines reported getting sick, including: nausea, diarrhea, vomiting and stomach pain. But how does a chemical on storage pallets get inside prescription medicine bottles?

Packaging materials, i.e., bottles and lids, are transported from China, where they are made, on chemically treated pallets to the drug manufacturing facility located in Puerto Rico, where they are stowed until loaded with pills. At any point during transport or storage, the chemical can seep onto the plastics. The same manufacturing facility also stored and packaged the other medicines recalled earlier this year for TBA contamination.

All of this stink caused by sloppy drug handling makes me happy to still be on smellcation!

Be Sociable, Share!


  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Genevive Bjorn, Genevive Bjorn. Genevive Bjorn said: Atorvastatin (#Lipitor) stinks: The pharmaceutical company, Pfizer, has recalled another 38… […]