Novartis ships limited Animal Health products

Animal Health products that were already manufactured prior to a December Novartis facility shutdown will be distributed to veterinarians throughout the United States and Canada, Novartis recently announced.

The company is not yet back to full production, but announced Feb. 2, 2012 that it would resume shipments of previously-manufactured veterinary products ready for distribution from its Lincoln, Neb. facility.

Novartis said in a news release that the decision to resume distribution of the already-manufactured products was reached following consultation with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Rick Lloyd, General Manager of Novartis Animal Health in North America, said that the products stored in company warehouses when product sales stopped in December due to the facility shutdown have resumed shipping to veterinarians in the United States and Canada.

"The well-being of pets is our top priority, so Novartis Animal Health took the time required in the past weeks to coordinate fully with the FDA and agree on the best course of action," Lloyd said in a news release. "We thoroughly assessed all Animal Health products made at the plant. We are pleased to resume distribution of veterinary products that were ready for shipping at the time shipments were suspended."

Novartis voluntarily stopped production and distribution of all products manufactured at its Lincoln facility in late December. The shutdown affected key products such as heartworm medications Interceptor and Sentinel, as well as Clomicalm, Deramaxx, Program and Milbemite as well as other human over-the-counter (OTC) medications.

The Novartis Consumer Health division announced Jan. 8, 2012 that is was voluntarily recalling all lots of select bottles of Excedrin and NoDoz products as well as select lots of Bufferin and Gas-X Prevention. Citing consumer complaints of chipped and broken pills and inconsistent bottle packaging, Novartis said the OTC products may contain stray tablets, capsules or caplets from other Novartis drugs also packaged at the same facility.

Novartis is also warning customers that broken or incorrect tablets may be found in bottles of the Animal Health product Clomicalm as a result of packaging issues at the facility. Veterinarians are encouraged to inspect bottles of Clomicalm for stray or broken tablets prior to dispensing the medication.

Novartis says it plans to keep consumers up to date as to when full production schedules will resume again.

"We would like to tell veterinarians and pet owners throughout the United States and Canada just how much we regret the temporary supply disruption and the challenges it may have created," Lloyd said. "Novartis Animal Health is committed to the highest standards of quality and care for pets. We want to ensure that we get back to normal production schedules as soon as possible."