Product Recall

Preventing a Disaster: 3 Most Colossal Product Recalls of All Time

Time and time again, product defects prove to us that nobody and nothing is perfect. While some defects only affect the aesthetics of a product, others may cause physical harm to others and those nearby.

In fact, the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reviews approximately 8,000 product defect-related deaths each year in the United States and the District of Columbia alone. But until a defected product is recalled and taken off store shelves, more and more individuals may be at risk of harm or death.

These are some of the top three biggest product recalls of all time:

Merck’s Vioxx

Vioxx by Merck was viewed as a revolutionary medication for arthritis pain when it first hit the market in 1999. But little did anyone expect its recall that would be coming in the next five years.

In September of 2004, Vioxx was quickly taken off the market once it was discovered that the medication has strong correlations with heart attacks and strokes. Out of approximately 20 million American users, about 140,000 had a heart attack due to taking Vioxx. 88,000 of those individuals ended up dying as a result.

In total, the Merck Vioxx recall cost the company a total of $8.9 billion.

General Motors’ ignition switch

If you’ve ever owned a vehicle, new or old, you’ve probably gotten letters in the mail notifying you of potential defects with your car. In fact, automotive defects are very common. General Motors was particularly unlucky with its $4.1 billion ignition switch defect in 2014.

The faulty ignition switches in many General Motors vehicles — which would cause vehicles to shut down randomly and cause the steering wheel, brakes, and airbags to disable — caused a minimum of 124 fatalities. Double as many injuries were also reported.

In turn of the defect, General Motors decided to recall a whopping 30.4 million cars around the globe. The General Motors stock declined 15-percent in the same year.

Peanut Corp. of America’s peanut butter

When consumers ate Peanut Corp. of America peanut butter that was accidentally tainted with salmonella, nine individuals lost their lives while hundreds of others were left very sick. During that time, almost 4,000 other peanut products from approximately 361 companies were also recalled due to the massive salmonella outbreak.

As a result of the outbreak, Peanut Corp. of America declared bankruptcy before officially going out of business. Additionally, the former executive of the company was sentenced to 28 years in prison.

Had a product fail or harm you or a loved one? These defect lawyers can help you seek potential compensation if you have a qualified case.


The takeaway is that any product — technology, food, medicine, automotive equipment, and the like — has the potential to be harmful if it has a defect. Even if the defected item causes a minor injury, it is in your power to seek legal justice. By doing this, you are not only helping yourself but hundreds of others who may later come in contact with the defected product.

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