Novartis: Answering client FAQs
A production facility in Lincoln, Neb. remains shut down as Novartis Animal health works to institute system and process upgrades. The plant has been shut down since December.
The shutdown means that veterinarians and consumers alike are facing a shortage of key heartworm and parasitic worm medications such as the Interceptor and Sentinel Flavor Tabs.
Novartis spokespeople have given no indication as to when the plant may be up and running again, and information from the company’s website gives no suggestion as to a possible timeline either.
The shutdown has also affected other products including Program Flavor Tabs, Program Suspension, Milbemite, Deramaxx, and Clomicalm.
What are you telling your clients about the medication shortage? Use the following list of Frequently Asked Questions from Novartis to help explain the shortage to your clients:
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
1. Why are Sentinel Flavor Tabs and Interceptor Flavor Tabs not available at my veterinary clinic?
Novartis recently made the voluntary decision to temporarily shut down its Lincoln, Neb. manufacturing plant, which manufacturers many Novartis Animal Health products, to focus on system and process upgrades. The decision to temporarily suspend production was driven by the companys ongoing commitment to the highest standards.
Novartis teams have been working around the clock to resume regular production schedules for our veterinary products. However, definitive production timelines are not available at this time. Once this information is available, it will be communicated.
2. What products were affected by this temporary shutdown?
Novartis Animal Health brands produced in Lincoln, Neb. for the U.S. market include Interceptor Flavor Tabs, Sentinel Flavor Tabs, Program Flavor Tabs, Program Suspension, Milbemite, Deramaxx and Clomicalm. Products produced in Lincoln for Canada include Interceptor Flavor Tabs, Sentinel Flavor Tabs and Program Flavor Tabs, which are affected by the temporary shutdown at Lincoln.
3. Do you have a projected date as to when Novartis will resume production of Interceptor Flavor Tabs (or any other of the affected NAH products)?
We do not have a definite date for restart of production at this time. As much as we would like to be able to provide a more specific date, there are still many production uncertainties to be managed and we want to be sure that we present an accurate timeline that reflects the information we have available today.
Novartis has teams working around the clock toward resuming normal production schedules for all veterinary products made at our Lincoln, Neb. facility. We have invested significant resources to achieve the swiftest possible resolution of this issue, and our robust team of staff and consultants is working around the clock to ensure that normal production resumes as soon as is practically possible.
We realize that the temporary interruption in product availability has created challenges for pet owners who rely on Novartis Animal Health products and we deeply regret the inconvenience this has caused you. Once a definitive production schedule is available, it will be communicated.
4. Are the products safe?
Yes, all of the brands remain safe and effective when used according to the product label. There were no veterinary product recalls as part of the temporary plant shut down. Veterinarians can continue to prescribe, and pet owners can continue to administer, these trusted brands with confidence.
5. If my veterinarian has products in stock, are there any dangers in using these products? Are there any product issues?
Novartis Animal Health has not received any reports of another brand being mixed in with one of its products, although we did learn of a single Clomicalm bottle containing an isolated Clomicalm tablet of a lesser strength. (Ongoing progress at the manufacturing site should have this issue fixed shortly). For precaution, we recommend that all Clomicalm tablets be examined prior to administration to ensure they are the correct size, shape and color, and any perceived abnormality should be reported to Novartis Animal Health.
6. My dog can only use Novartis heartworm products, what should I do?
We realize that the temporary interruption in product availability has created challenges for pet owners who rely on Novartis Animal Health products and we deeply regret the inconvenience this has caused you.
We recommend that you work closely with your veterinarian to determine the best health care needs of your dog during this temporary situation.
7. In a Novartis news release dated February 2, it was stated that already-manufactured product was being shipped out to veterinarians, so why doesnt my veterinarian have product?
Already-manufactured products did begin shipping in early February. However, the temporary voluntary stoppage of production and distribution of the products affected has created a back-order situation for many of our veterinary customers and we have not been able to meet all of the demand.
8. I buy Sentinel Flavor Tabs (or Interceptor Flavor Tabs) online through a retailer. Why do they not have product and where can I get it if they dont have it?
Since Novartis Animal Health does not sell directly to online retailers, we are not able to tell you where retailers purchase their product supply. Novartis supports the veterinary-client relationship and only sells its products directly to licensed veterinarians.
We recommend that you check with a veterinarian in your area for assistance and product availability. To find a veterinarian in your area, go towww.sentinelpet.com and click on the Veterinary Finder link.
9. What will Novartis do to make up this inconvenience to pet owners and veterinarians?
We would like to tell veterinarians and pet owners throughout the US and Canada just how much we regret the temporary supply disruption and the issues it may have caused in the interest of pet health. 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 so we can continue to provide trusted products that protect the health of our beloved pets. Our ultimate commitment to our valued customers is having the best sustainable solutions in place for them for the long term.
10. The lack of product availability may cause current users of Novartis products to switch to other products to fulfill their pets health needs in the short term. How will you address this with veterinary practices/pet owners?
Our department of Technical Product Services and Pharmacovigilance (1-800-637-0281) offers help to veterinarians with questions about patient care. And when production resumes, Novartis intends to do its very best to see that our brands reach as many clinics, and their patients, as soon as possible.
11. How are you keeping pet owners and veterinarians informed of progress?