The FDA has announced the recall of yet another batch of over the counter medications. Novartis Consumer Health, Inc. has voluntarily recalled all lots of No Doz and Excedrin with expiration dates of December 20, 2014 and sooner, and Gas-X and Bufferin products with expiration dates of December 20, 2013 and earlier. The reason for the recall is because these bottles may contain tablets from other over the counter products. With different medications possibly being in the same bottle there is a risk of side effects. For example, you purchase Bufferin, which is an aspirin-containing pain reliever, but it has random tablets of No Doz, which is a high-dose caffeine tablet that could make you feel agitated and make it difficult for you to sleep. The recall is precautionary which means not all products may be affected, but Novartis wants to protect the safety of consumers.
If you take any of these products, talk to your pharmacist about an alternative until more is reproduced. The plant that produced the majority of the medications was based out of Lincoln, Nebraska and will slowly start production once plans to prevent contamination from happening again. Check your bottles at home and if you have any of these products you should contact Novartis to return the product to them and receive a refund. contact the Novartis Consumer Relationship Center at 1-888-477-2403 (available Monday-Friday 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern Time) to get the details. You can also go to www.novartis-OTC.com to download a form to receive a refund.
This isn’t the first time manufacturers or the FDA have recalled over the counter products. Recently, Johnson and Johnson, the company that makes Tylenol, was sued by a family whose 2-year-old son died after being given a batch of liquid Tylenol that had been recalled. The child died in the hospital of liver failure and it was determined that the bottle they used had excessive quantities of acetaminophen. This may have been what prompted the infant’s concentrated drops to be discontinued and one standard dosage of liquid Tylenol to avoid parents from incorrectly dosing their children.
Recalls like these have made me more concerned about the role of the FDA in overseeing the production of over the counter medications and quality control from drug manufacturers. This is not an area that we can cut corners on as it directly affects people’s health. We need to be able to have confidence in the products we are consuming.