Excedrin and Bufferin are making recall headlines this week, but they pale in comparison to the 10 worst drug recalls in FDA history, as ranked by the financial news site 24/7 Wall Street.
10. Mibefradil (Posicor) -- Maker: Roche Recalled: 1998 (after one year on the market) Financial damage: Analysts had projected $2.9 billion in sales within four years
9. Phenylpropanolamine (PPA) -- Maker: No principal manufacturer, widely manufactured across the industry Recalled: 2000 (at least 60 years on the market) Financial damage: Untold millions, if not billions (one manufacturer alone settled for $15 million)
8. Terfenadine (Seldane) -- Maker: Hoechst Marion Roussel (now Aventis) Recalled: 1997 (after 13 years on the market) Financial damage: In addition to legal expenses, the loss of market share alone to drugs such as Loratadine (Claritin) was steep
7. Able Laboratories Generic Prescription Drugs -- Maker: Able Laboratories Recalled: 2005 Financial Damage: Able Laboratories had $103 million in annual sales before the recall
6. Troglitazone (Rezulin) -- Maker: Warner-Lambert Recalled: 2000 (after one year on the market) Financial damage: Warner-Lambert grossed $2.1 billion in sales before the recall
5. Valdecoxib (Bextra) -- Maker: Pfizer Recalled: 2005 (after one year on the market) Financial damage: More than $2 billion in legal awards and expenses
4. Rofecoxib (Vioxx) -- Maker: Merck Recalled: 2004 (after five years on the market) Financial damage: Nearly $6 billion in litigation-related expenses alone
3. Cerivastatin (Baycol) -- Maker: Bayer Recalled: 2001 (after four years on the market) Financial damage: Litigation-related damages totaled $1.2 billion
2. Diethylstilbestrol (DES) -- Maker: Multiple manufacturers Recalled: 1975 (after 37 years on the market) Financial damage: Steep, but difficult to quantify because each manufacturer paid out legal damages correlated with its respective market share
1. Fenfluramine/phentermine (Fen-Phen) -- Maker: Wyeth-Ayerst Laboratories Recalled: 1997 (after 24 years on the market) Financial damage: Awards to victims close to $14 billion, making it one of the most costly products liability cases in history
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