MEMPHIS, Tenn. – According to the latest Sedgwick brand protection report US Product Recall Index Reportover 900 million units have already been recalled across these industries in the first quarter of 2022. Not only is this the highest number of units recalled in a single quarter in the past 10 years, but this also dwarfs the average annual figures recorded across this time frame as well.
US regulators have started 2022 with increased enforcement activity and stricter scrutiny of the automotive, consumer products, food and beverage, pharmaceutical, and medical device industries.
Sedgwick Brand Protection’s quarterly report takes an in-depth look at key regulatory challenges and developments businesses need to be aware of to navigate an evolving recall environment. The report includes the latest data on product recalls and trends from the first quarter of 2022, as well as insights, analysis and forecasts from brand protection experts at Sedgwick.
First Quarter Recall Data Highlights:
- There were 221 automotive recall events in the first quarter of 2022, which is lower than the quarterly average for 2021. However, the number of recalled units rose sharply by 114.2% to 9.3 million.
- The number of consumer product recalls jumped 63.8% in the first quarter of 2022, reaching its highest level in more than five years. The number of unit recalls increased by 161.0%.
- While FDA-initiated food recall events decreased by 12.7%, their average size jumped 328.4% to more than 1.3 million units. Only a quarter in the past 12 years have had larger recalls. In contrast, the USDA was the only regulator to see the number of recalled units drop.
- As in other industries, the number of recalled medical devices soared in the first quarter, increasing by 2,624.9%. The average size of recalls exceeds 1.5 million units – a level seen only once before in the past 15 years.
As with medical devices, the average pharmaceutical recall reached a 15-year high, exceeding 4.6 million units per event. The total number of units recalled in the first quarter of 2022 topped 435 million, also representing a 15-year high.
Future prospects in 2022:
- The auto industry will likely see new regulations around autonomous vehicles and electric vehicles after NHTSA spent the quarter laying the groundwork for improving vehicle safety. While new regulations could prove burdensome for manufacturers, additional safety measures will increase consumer confidence in these vehicles.
- For the consumer products industry, children’s products will remain a focus of regulators and lawmakers with new legislation seeking to ban the sale of bumpers. Sustainability will be another key objective specifically related to greenwashing in the fashion industry.
- Infant formula activity will dominate the food and beverage industry as the FDA continues to address a nationwide shortage of the product and launches a review of its infant formula programs and policies and complaints, diseases and special medical food recalls. Additionally, regulators will continue to ramp up in-person inspections and other pre-pandemic operations.
In the pharmaceutical industry, legislators and regulators are focused on lowering drug prices. Lawmakers from both houses of Congress recently introduced legislation aimed at combating anti-competitive behavior in the industry by increasing innovation and making drugs more affordable.
The FDA’s proposed rule to harmonize its quality systems regulations and align US medical device manufacturing standards with those of other countries will be the major regulatory focus this year. While many experts agree this will make it easier for device makers, there are still concerns about the rule’s impact and the FDA’s timeframe for implementation.
“While most business operations have adapted to the challenges associated with the ongoing pandemic, new challenges continue to emerge that put businesses at risk. Companies can also find themselves overwhelmed by threats to their reputation and financial success with increased regulatory activity from agencies and legislators,” said Chris Harvey, senior vice president at Sedgwick. “Companies should take every opportunity to assess and strengthen their recall, crisis and communication management plans to ensure they are prepared for the next product crisis.”