Conventional wisdom in the industry suggests that drug product recalls are on the rise, and in fact if you look at the chart that leads off this CNN Money report today, you'd say the 2009 escalation is quite alarming. On closer inspection, as the article points out, many of these recall events are due to the problems of a few manufacturers, such as Advantage Dose.
At DIA 2010 in June, FDA's Deb Autor responded to a question on drug recalls as follows: "There have actually been more drugs recalled, but about a steady number of recall events. Last year we had a spike in recalls (around 2,000), but when you look at that it’s the same number of companies—for example, KV pharma recalled some 1,300 products." (Here is the full text of an FDA Town Hall at which this question was raised.)
Yes, recalls are trending up, and have become a larger part of our consciousness as J and J and other major manufacturers experience them, but to say that there's a "surge" is hyperbolic.