OTC Antacids – Problems with Supplies

What is causing the current empty shelves in drugstores where some of the top selling brands of antacids should be?  Well, there hasn’t been any dramatic increase in the numbers of heartburn sufferers, although heartburn is an extremely common problem which is experienced by nearly 25 million Americans every day.  The shortages are in fact due to the product recalls of some of the most popular antacids made by Johnson and Johnson during 2010.  Since the recalls, competitors have struggled to increase their production to take up the slack left by the removal of these products.

In a period of just over four months at the end of 2010, Johnson and Johnson had to remove 18 of their antacid products from sale for an assortment of reasons. The problems for the company have not just been contained to their antacid products, as on 10 March 2011 it was announced that they had given supervision of three of their manufacturing plants to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).  This agreement is known as a “consent decree” and it could last up to five years.  FDA inspectors did not consider that laboratory procedures and controls were sufficiently robust enough to ensure that products leaving the plants were of the appropriate levels of purity, strength and quality.  They also found that the company did not follow up on customers’ complaints concerning products made at these facilities. The appalling lists of serious shortcomings found by the FDA at these manufacturing plants could well dent public confidence in the Pharmaceutical Industry and lead many people to reconsider how they treat their heartburn. Some may decide to turn to the many holistic and natural treatments available such as Heartburn No More.

The first antacid recall in this four month period took place on 5 August 2010 when two lots of Pepacid products were recalled from the wholesalers and retailers because the packaging may have been damaged by a loose screw.  The risks were not considered sufficient to warrant a total recall.

Products in Recall:

Pepacid Complete – Lot number BEF062
Original Strength Pepacid AC – Lot number BFF010F

The next recall was on 29 November 2010 when after consulting with the FDA, Johnson and Johnson recalled 1 Alternagel and 12 Mylanta liquid antacid products.  This recall was necessary as alcohol was found to be present in very small quantities in these products and this was not noted on the packaging.  Again, the recall of products was only from stocks held by wholesalers and retailers.

Products in Recall:

Alternagel 12-oz
Mylanta Original 5-oz
Mylanta Regular Strength Original 12-oz
Mylanta Regular Strength Mint 12-oz
Mylanta Maximum Strength Mint 12-oz
Mylanta Maximum Strength Cherry 12-oz
Mylanta Maximum Strength Original 12-oz
Mylanta Maximum Strength Original 24-oz
Mylanta Ultimate Strength Cherry 12-oz
Mylanta Ultimate Strength Mint 12-oz
Mylanta Supreme Tasting with Calcium Cherry 12-oz
Mylanta Supreme Tasting with Calcium Cherry 24-oz

The final recall was made on 9 December 2010 when consumer reports of metal and wooden fragments in the products forced the total recall of all Rolaids soft chew products.

Products in Recall:

Rolaids Extra Strength Softchews – Cherry
Rolaids Extra Strength Softchews – Wild Cherry
Rolaids Extra Strength Plus Gas Softchews – Tropical Fruit
Rolaids Multi-Symptom Plus Anti-Gas Softchews – Tropical Fruit

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