Injectors with allergy drug are recalled Meridian takes action after reports of accidental activation

Medical technology

October 10, 1997|By Mark Guidera | Mark Guidera,SUN STAFF

Meridian Medical Technologies Inc., a Columbia-based medical devices company, broadened yesterday its efforts to get consumers to return a spring-activated automatic injector pen, a small batch of which were found to be defective.

In addition, Meridian said that the voluntary recall for the injectors, sold for treating severe allergic reactions, would hurt fourth quarter earnings.

"It was a tough decision, but we decided we had to do what was right for the patients," said James H. Miller, Meridian's president and chief executive officer. "This is pro-active and precautionary."

The company said it is offering consumers who bought either its EpiEZPen or EpiEZPen Jr. a free exchange. Miller estimated 500,000 of the injectors, which are loaded with epinephrine for severe allergic reactions, have been sold since the product was introduced in March last year.

The company announced the voluntary recall on Sept. 22. A small number of the injectors in Lot No. 6SA145, distributed by Dey Laboratories, were found to spontaneously activate, Meridian said. The company said the defective injectors represent less than 1 percent of those sold.

Meridian said consumers who were prescribed the EpiEZPen injector should return them to their pharmacist or place of purchase for an exchange. (For more information, consumers can also call 800-527-4278 and 800-755-5560.)

Miller said the company estimates that the voluntary recall effort will cost $950,000 and decrease earnings in the fourth quarter. As a result, the company expects to post a net income of $31,000 for the fourth quarter ending July 1, down from a pre-recall estimate of $978,00.

In addition, Meridian estimated that it will post a year-end loss of $456,000, rather than a profit of $491,000.

Even though the recall was launched after its fourth quarter closed July 31, Miller said company auditors have determined that it must list the cost of the recall on its fourth-quarter and year-end results.

Miller said the recall wouldn't hurt long-term revenue growth for the company and noted that the EpiEZPen line accounts for less than 10 percent of the company's $40.7 million in 1997 sales.

Yesterday, Meridian shares closed at $7, down 62.5 cents.

Pub Date: 10/10/97

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