Alcohol Swab Recall

by Leighann on January 10, 2011

This week the FDA announced a recall of alcohol swabs manufactured by Triad. These are sold under many store brand names including CVS and Walgreens.

The Examiner reports: The FDA is advising consumers to not return the product, but to contact the Triad Group Customer Service to obtain a return authorization number. You may call them Monday through Friday at 1-262-538-2900, toll-free at 1-800-288-1288.

When I called my local Walgreens late Sunday night, they said it was their understanding that the recall was at the pharmacy level, not the patient level. She said unopened boxes could be returned for a refund if we are concerned about them. She also said that they did have BD alcohol swabs on the shelf.

I waited for Monday morning to be able to call the company’s 800-number and the representative said that you are indeed supposed to take them to the pharmacy for a return. She said the pharmacy should credit you or exchange them. She stated that the pharmacies have accounts with them and will do all the paper work. She said that this is precautionary and there probably wouldn’t be issues with any alcohol swabs we might have. When I asked about lot numbers or knowing which ones are recalled, she said ALL of them.

To be honest alcohol swabs are one of the least expensive things we buy and I am not sure it’s worth the effort to return those that we have. That being said, I now have to go out and buy a new box and I also need to send a new one to school. While we used to use 4 alcohol swabs per day to clean off the vial of insulin before drawing it out and clean off the injection site, now that we are using an insulin pump, we use one alcohol swab every three days to wipe off the insulin vial and the site for the new pod. A 100-count box of alcohol swabs lasts us almost 10 months now.

We headed to Walgreens with two boxes (one full, one partial) after school and the manager returned them, issuing a store credit since (a) I did not have a receipt and (b) they were completely out of BD alcohol swabs to replace them with. That’s right, no alcohol swabs to be found.

So good news, Walgreens took them back no problem. Bad news, I still don’t have any alcohol swabs. I would have picked some up on my weekly trek to Target had I know there was a recall (Target brand is not affected).

For the press release, visit the FDA website.

The following is from the press release:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – January 5, 2011 – Hartland, Wisconsin, Triad Group, a manufacturer of over-the-counter products has initiated a voluntary product recall involving ALL LOTS of ALCOHOL PREP PADS, ALCOHOL SWABS, and ALCOHOL SWABSTICKS manufactured by Triad Group but which are private labeled for many accounts to the consumer level. This recall involves those products marked as STERILE as well as non-sterile products. This recall has been initiated due to concerns from a customer about potential contamination of the products with an objectionable organism, namely Bacillus cereus. We are, out of an abundance of caution, recalling these lots to ensure that we are not the source of these contamination issues.

Use of contaminated Alcohol Prep Pads, Alcohol Swabs or Alcohol Swabsticks could lead to life-threatening infections, especially in at risk populations, including immune suppressed and surgical patients. To date we have received one report of a non-life-threatening skin infection.

Alcohol Prep Pads, Alcohol Swabs and Alcohol Swabsticks are used to disinfect prior to an injection. They were distributed nationwide to retail pharmacies and are packaged in individual packets and sold in retail pharmacies in a box of 100 packets. The affected Alcohol Prep Pads, Alcohol Swabs and Alcohol Swabsticks can be identified by either “Triad Group,” listed as the manufacturer, or the products are manufactured for a third party and use the names listed below in their packaging:

Cardinal Health
PSS Select
Boca/ Ultilet
Moore Medical

These products were distributed in the United States, Canada and Europe.

Specific customers distributing the product and selling it at the wholesale, hospital and retail pharmacy level have been notified by certified mail with instructions on how to return the product. If a consumer has any of these types of products in their possession listing “Triad Group” as the manufacturer, they should not use the product and should return it to the place it was purchased for a full refund or call Triad Group Customer Service Monday through Friday between the hours of 8:30 A.M. and 4:00 P.M. Central Time: 262.538.2900.

DO NOT RETURN THE PRODUCT ON YOUR OWN, simply call the Triad Group Customer Service listed below and we will issue you a return authorization number and make all return arrangements.

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

1 eli January 10, 2011 at 3:57 pm

do you not use alcohol swabs to clean fingers before testing?


2 Leighann January 10, 2011 at 4:41 pm

We were advised that that alcohol swabs can be drying to finger tips possibly making them more sensitive. We wash hands with soap and water before blood sugar checks.


3 Ann Onimous January 10, 2011 at 4:01 pm

Great compilation! I work for PSS World Medical, and PSS Select is our brand: we’re up to our ears in returns on this product. I have to get ours together for return as well.

I’ve shared this on my Facebook page, with the hope that my D-friends will read. Thanks for doing this!


4 Amy January 10, 2011 at 6:27 pm

How funny. We coincidentally bought alcohol pads today (not knowing about the recall). I was wondering why my husband brought the BD brand instead of the Walgreens ones. Now I know.


5 Angela January 11, 2011 at 10:07 am

Kroger brand alchol swabs were also recalled this past week. I was notified by a phone call and information on the bottom of my last receipt.


6 Joan February 16, 2011 at 4:23 pm

I just checked with our military pharmacy. I have the brand “Major” made by Triad. They are also recalled. Seems pretty safe to say that if Triad made them, they will be or are recalled. I used them while pregnant with my diabetes, so I am pretty upset about the issue. But is there anything safe these days?


7 Ann Onimous February 27, 2011 at 11:41 am

If anyone has the PSS Select brand, call the number on the back of the swabs. We’ll work with you on a return or credit. If we do a return, we’ll send them back to Triad. 🙂 Any questions, please shoot me an email –


8 Theresa March 1, 2011 at 6:37 pm

We didn’t learn about any recall at all until about 2 weeks ago when we went into Rite Aid to get more swabs – the pharmacist then told us there was a recall on B&D but not Rite Aid brand (which we happened to have bought last time) – but they’ve been out of all since. Now I appears that ANY made by Triad are affected (Rite Aid brand included) – I tried call the numbers posted and the recording says to contact your local retailer.

How are we to know whether they are contaminated or not? (husband who uses them is also a transplant recipient so he’s immune-compromised!).


9 Leighann March 2, 2011 at 7:04 am

It’s my understanding that ALL the Triad alcohol swabs are recalled. We took ours back to Walgreen’s and they gave us a refund. Walgreens is now carrying a different brand in addition to B&D. We bought the B&D brand this time around.


10 Nat Bosco March 2, 2011 at 3:05 pm

I saw the recall on TV, and found this great site. My daughter is type 1, and uses a wipe each time she tests. When I looked at the brand “Better Living”, I thought we were ok. Then I looked at the small print on the box, and noticed that they are made by Triad. I’m suspecting that I should get rid of these. Right? I am also wondering if there is a batch number, or some other identifier that I can look for that would let me know that the swabs are ok to purchase, even if they are made by Triad.


11 Leighann March 2, 2011 at 3:41 pm

Nat- It’s my understanding that ALL lot numbers of ALL the alcohol swabs manufactured by Triad are recalled. Our local Walgreens is carrying alternate brands now. We returned ours to the store and were issued a refund.


12 Ann Onimous March 2, 2011 at 7:53 pm

Absolutely true: all lot numbers of Triad prep pads are recalled. We’ve had to switch to another manufacturer as well.


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: