Novartis Consumer Health Inc. (NCH) informed customers, that it is voluntarily recalling all lots of select bottle packaging configurations from retailers of Excedrin® and NoDoz® products with expiry dates of December 20, 2014 or earlier as well as Bufferin® and Gas-X Prevention® products with expiry dates of December 20, 2013 or earlier, in the United States. NCH is taking this action as a precautionary measure, because the products may contain stray tablets, capsules, or caplets from other Novartis products, or contain broken or chipped tablets.
Information on the affected bottle sizes, and related expiry dates will be available at www.novartisOTC.com as of January 9, 2012. This precautionary recall follows the recent voluntary suspension of operations and shipments from Novartis Consumer Health Inc's Lincoln, NE facility. These actions were taken to accelerate maintenance and other improvement activities at the site.
There have been no related adverse event reports received as a result of these issues. The established safety profile for each of these products remains consistent. Mixing of different products in the same bottle could result in consumers taking the incorrect product and receiving a higher or lower strength than intended or receiving an unintended ingredient. This could potentially result in overdose, interaction with other medications a consumer may be taking, or an allergic reaction if the consumer is allergic to the unintended ingredient. NCH is not aware of adverse events reported with the issues leading to the recall. This recall is being conducted with the knowledge of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Novartis Consumer Health will continue to work closely with the agency as well as its customers throughout this process.
"We are committed to a single quality standard for the entire Novartis Group and we are making the necessary investments and committing the right resources to ensure these are implemented across our entire network," said Joseph Jimenez, CEO of Novartis. "The high quality of our products and operations has been critical to building the Novartis reputation over the past 15 years. We are committed to ensuring the highest standard for patients who rely on our products and medicines."
NCH is recalling these products as a precaution due to an internal product review and complaints that identified issues such as broken gelcaps, chipped tablets and inconsistent bottle packaging line clearance practices, where a potential for a tablet mix up could not be ruled out.
NCH plans to gradually resume operations at its Lincoln, NE site following implementation of planned improvements and in agreement with the FDA. The Novartis Consumer Health Inc. Lincoln, NE facility produces a variety of products mainly for the US market with annual sales value of less than 2% of Novartis Group sales. At this stage, it is not possible to determine when the plant will resume full operations and the full financial impact of these events. NCH will take a one-time charge currently estimated at USD 120 million in the fourth quarter of 2011, relating to the recalls and improvement work at the Lincoln, NE facility.