No, most counting machines for tablets count up.
They are either trays/racks which have holes for the tablets to fall (say 30 hones per tray) and they are released from the tray/rack into the containers. In such case, if a hole for example is restructed for some reason and a tablet can’t go in, it means that the container will contain less tablets.
Another type of counters is optical sensor whereby they count the number entering the bottle. It is possible that the counter is counting phantom pills. In such case it would be counting more than actual tablets entering the container. An optical sensor may have a fault where it fails to could all tablets which would result in over-counting (more tablets in a container).
The third method is a weighing method whereby the mass of say 30 tablets is known. The containers are filled until the required mass is achieved. I understand that weighing is less common for small tablets as the variation in container weights can impact on the amount of the contents.
If I get a chance, I’ll see if I can find some videos of the above tablet machines.
I wouldn’t be jumping to any conclusions as it is likely that the filling machines are more likely to under count that over count.
I also wouldn’t be complaining to say the TGA until you have heard back from Servier. It is possible it can be resolved without regulator intervention. The regulator should only be involved if the response from Servier is not acceptable.
They might also advise the TGA is aware of the problem, which means complaining to the TGA might be a wasted effort or result in additional impacts on Servier and the TGA as both may need to investigate and respond to a cpmplaint.
It is possible that Servier do a particular medicine container filling in batches at different times based on demand. Most companies do as it reduces setup and cleanup costs…which can be significant where decontamination is required as that which I imagine would be the case for medicines. Decontamination would be required for medicines to prevent one medicine contaminating another during processing and container filling.
For example, they may produce tablets in containers every three months, store and then ship out when orders come in. If the under counting has occurred during the whole of the bottling run, they may have month(s) worth if stock affected, which is why one may go to a number of different pharmacists and find the same problem…as they were all produced at the same time.
You are lucky to pick it up as many people possibly don’t count every bottle. They (Servier) hopefully will appreciate your sleuthing efforts.