How to Handle PR During a Medical Device Recall

Managing PR during a medical device recall is challenging. The media can tell all kinds of stories about medical device recalls, so a PR’s job should be to always tell the truth. That is why it is important to learn how to handle PR during a medical device recall.

This article will focus on explaining how to manage public relations for healthcare product withdrawals. The following tips will help you understand what to do in case of device recall from start to finish.

How to Handle PR During a Medical Device Recall
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How to Handle PR During a Medical Device Recall?

Medical device recalls happen when the manufacturer needs to correct or remove a medical device from the market because it violates FDA law. As you’ve guessed, any medical product recall can be a bad sign and could lead to reputational damage for your company. 

The media can stretch the truth, which threatens the company’s reputation. As PR professionals, it is our job to deal with the situation calmly and persuasively. That is why we use different strategies to address the situation and influence the opinion of customers and the media.

Understanding the situation

First of all, as a medical company, you have to understand the situation and learn the truth to know how to act. Our job is to manage the company’s reputation and turn the negative situation into a positive one. We must inform ourselves about the legal requirements and procedures for product recall.

Handling PR during a medical device recall requires a strategy made with a medical pr agency. Communicating with regulatory agencies is crucial to understand the reasons behind the recall, potential risks, and recommended actions.

It is fundamental to identify all affected stakeholders, including patients, healthcare professionals, and the media. These considerations and understanding help us create a suitable communication strategy. Being clear and transparent is the key to keeping patients loyal to the company.

Crafting the message

So, how to craft press releases for medtech recalls? When crafting the message, we, PR professionals and healthcare experts, should always be honest and transparent.  We need to explain the reasons behind the recall and any potential risks involved clearly. It is our job to address the situation appropriately and craft the perfect message to effectively communicate with the audience.

In the name of the company, we admit the mistake or any oversight that may have happened. Yet, we point out what measures the company will take to prevent this in the future, like quality control or safety measures.

The company’s message is crucial for existing and future customers. That is why, as PR professionals, we are consistent in our communication with the media and customers and point out the company’s values. Moreover, when preparing the message, we are mindful to include clear instructions for affected parties on what actions they need to take.

We highlight patient safety and well-being in our message to the audience and make sure the stakeholders understand that their health is your company’s priority and that the company is committed to quickly resolving the issue.

Choosing the right communication channels

The next step is choosing our communication channels. We inform stakeholders about a medical device recall through email, social media, phone, websites, and traditional media outlets.

We use traditional media outlets, like a press release or interview, to reach a wider audience. Direct communication with stakeholders, like sending personalized emails or letters can also be effective because this creates a more personal approach.

It is also important that we actively listen to stakeholders and respond to their inquiries and feedback. We practice clear communication about what is known about the issue, what actions are being taken, and what steps the affected parties should take. After all, transparency builds confidence. 

Handling media inquiries and interviews

So, how to manage PR for medtech recalls in the media? Although several other departments, like management, production, and operations, are the first to hear about the recall notice, our role in this situation is very powerful. Our goal is to improve the communication between the company, the media, and the customers. 

As PR professionals, we are the spokespersons in charge of the media inquiries. We are persuasive and trained to deliver the message clearly and concisely to the media. For example, we practice different FAQs or tough questions until we feel comfortable and confident responding.

Managing social media response

Reaching out to customers on social media is beneficial and efficient. We respond quickly to any concerns or inquiries and, most importantly, address all the rumors and misinformation

The company’s public image will be influenced even more if some of the customers do not hear about the recall or its reasons. That is why we consider doing a social media campaign a wise move. 

Coordinating with internal teams

This step is essential for a successful PR. This means we collaborate with legal and regulatory teams to make sure we are sharing an accurate message with the customers. Your teams can discuss what can be shared publicly and should remain confidential.

Another important team to pay attention to is customer service which should be trained in giving responses to inquiries related to the recall.

Finally, keeping all the employees updated and informed about everything is crucial.

Coordinating with internal teams
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What Is the Role of the FDA in all this?

The FDA is crucial in overseeing and regulating medical device recall in the U.S. The FDA is responsible for regulating medical devices, particularly to ensure their safety and effectiveness. In case of a medical device recall, the FDA may issue a recall order to the manufacturer under 21 CFR 810, Medical Device Recall Authority. The FDA should be informed about a recall communication plan to evaluate if that is the appropriate step for keeping public safety. All in all, The FDA’s role in all of this is to protect public health by overseeing the recall process and assessing the safety risks posed by defective devices.


So, how to handle PR during a medical device recall? Our best practices for PR in medical equipment recalls are understanding the context, creating the message, and delivering it through the right communication channels. Then, consider how to handle inquiries and interviews and manage social media responses. Finally, it is important to collaborate with internal teams and consider post-recall communication.