Sunday, January 8, 2012

Novartis's "$120 Million Recall" Recalls Johnson & Johnson

Reuters reported:

Novartis's consumer health unit will take a $120 million hit in the fourth quarter after the Swiss drugmaker decided to voluntarily recall four products in the United States and improve quality standards at manufacturing sites.

Products recalled include Excedrin, NoDoz, Bufferin and Gas-X.  Novartis said problems included:

Consumer complaints “of chipped and broken pills and inconsistent bottle packaging line clearance practices possibly resulting in mixed tablets.”

I guarantee no customer cited "inconsistent bottle packaging line clearance practices" while complaining of mixed tablets.   It's bad enough giving customers defective pills, but stuffing words in their mouth?  Risk management and marketing people know no shame. 

How far did the quality bar fall at Novartis?  Novartis gets to retool their manufacturing practices, much like Johnson & Johnson.  Current stories of storied firms bear the mark of poor quality.

Update 1-9-12:  Novartis' Lincoln plant made opiate drugs for Endo Pharmaceuticals.  Opiates may be mixed in with OTC Novartis drugs and visa versa.  The FDA recommends  "patients and healthcare professionals examine opiate medicines made by Endo in their possession and ensure all tablets are the same. Healthcare professionals and patients are encouraged to report adverse events or side effects related to the use of these products to the FDA's MedWatch Safety Information and Adverse Event Reporting Program:"