We'd love to know what sort of pallets Pfizer uses to store Lipitor. The company has recalled 10 lots of the cholesterol drug, citing a "musty odor" in some bottles of tablets made by a contract manufacturer. A "musty odor" was the cause of one of Johnson & Johnson's recent recalls--and J&J later traced the smell to a wood additive used on some of its pallets.
Pfizer's 191,000-bottle recall is small when compared with other recent supply disruptions; J&J's musty-odor recall involved some 53 million bottles of Tylenol, Benadryl and St. Joseph's Aspirin. But if they share a common source, then drugmakers may want to reconsider using that wood additive, tribromophenol or TBP, which is a fungicide and wood preservative.
"Pfizer has been working closely with the bottle supplier to determine the cause of the odor problem and to rapidly address it," Pfizer spokesman Rick Chambers tells CNN. "We don't anticipate a product shortage resulting from the recall."
Pfizer wouldn't identify the contract manufacturer that supplied the smelly Lipitor. But it's not the first time this year that a CMO has let Pfizer down. Claris Lifesciences, which makes injectables, had to recall some drugs it made for Pfizer after FDA received reports of floating debris in the IV medications.