AstraZeneca recalls inhalers in Denmark that may contain no drug

For an asthmatic who reaches for their inhaler to discover it contains no drug could be troubling, but that is the chance in Denmark, where AstraZeneca ($AZN) is recalling potentially empty devices.

The company announced it is retrieving one lot of its Bricanyl Turbuhaler in Denmark after discovering they may contain no powder, according to a notice from the Danish Health and Medicines Authority (DHMA). The drugmaker in a release translated from Danish, said it has gotten to the root cause of the issue and "taken the necessary measures to deal with the problem."

The U.K.-based company told consumers that if they cannot identify an empty inhaler by its batch number, they can put a dark cloth over the mouthpiece and inhale normally. If the cloth shows no white powder, then they need to return it to their pharmacist for an exchange.

The misstep comes as AstraZeneca has been rebuilding its respiratory drug business in the face of an assault by generics on its blockbuster Symbicort. Earlier this year, the drugmaker made a deal with Actavis, now Allergan ($AGN), to buy its respiratory drug business for $600 million plus royalties, after last year handing over more than $2.2 billion for the respiratory meds of Spain's Almirall.

- here's the DHMA notice
- AstraZeneca's recall notice in Danish