Year after year, and drug after drug, recalls continue to mount. In fact, numbers have skyrocketed in the past few years alone. A lot of this has to do with the standards for testing of new drugs, which is limited at best. The FDA has no division that conducts research or testing on drugs pending approval. Any testing falls on the pharmaceutical company itself, and as long as theres no one to check up on them theres no reason for them not to present information that would best represent their product; even if its false information.
Between 2008 and 2009 the number of drug recalls jumped from just over 400 to over 1500. There is such competition in the world of prescription drugs, that information is often misrepresented in order to beat the competition to the market. This often results in products that are contaminated, and can potentially pose serious risks to those taking the medications. Eventually these drugs get pulled from the market, but the answer we should be looking for is why they make it to the shelves in the first place.
With all the regulatory control that the FDA possesses, and their continuing thirst for more power, it seems that they only try to regulate things that dont make them money. Drug patents and approvals make the government loads of money and the pharmaceutical companies can make loads in short periods of time as well; enough that its worth it to rush their products to market without proper testing or safety data.
A prime example of this is the case of Avandia, the brand name diabetes drug that has been surrounded by questions of safety for 10 years. When it was first pending approval, it was reported to cause increase in risk of heart attack and even death. Instead of researching it further, or attempting to improve the drug, its representatives launched a misinformation campaign that convinced those on the FDA approval board that those risks were outweighed by the positives of the drug. That lasted until just a few weeks ago, when the FDA finally began to limit the drugs use.
So many drugs get past the approval process because of the almighty dollar, and inevitably get pulled from the shelves. More people are in danger during this time than any other, so the approval process is where the true problems lie.