BREAKING: THIS JUST IN: Recalls of Over-The-Counter Drugs are Out-of-Control — Another sign of the looming apocalypse?

Excedrin/Gas X/NoDoz recalled (January 2012) by Novartis (Switzerland) and plant closed in Lincoln, Nebraska after complaints that “stray” small crumbs or pellets of opioid meds like Percocet, Endocet and Zydone were “inadvertently” mixed with the OTC meds. MSNBC.

Infant Tylenol, artificial hips, contact lenses recalled (February 2012) by Johnson & Johnson/Merck (USA). The infant Tylenol is the grape flavored formula for infants younger than two years old. Some dosing problem with the design of the bottle. MSNBC.

CVS liquid antacid this week (April 2012) recalled after a previous recall in 2010 of Motrin, Benadryl, Mylanta, St. Joseph Aspirin, Rolaids, Pepcid and regular Tylenol by Johnson and Johnson/Merck (USA) because the label did not specify the alcohol content of the product. 18 other antacids have been subject to recall. USAToday

Benefiber, Maalox recalled by Novartis (Switzerland) and from the same Lincoln, Nebraska plant which manufactured the Excedrin, Gas X, NoDoz also recalled. January 2012.

I just stumbled upon this. For weeks, I have been wondering why Benefiber was never available at any pharmacy or grocery store shelves so today I asked.

Pharmacists didn’t know, called the Manager.

Manager confirmed a recall, didn’t know why.

Manager also confirmed the other recalls indicated above but DID NOT KNOW WHY and several times “blamed” someone “finding a hair or something in it”. I told her that I had a Ph.D.; and that I understood statistics and probability; and that I could virtually GUARANTEE HER at a >p value of 99.999% that finding a “stray hair” was NOT the reason.

Robotic android automatons just mindlessly “doing their job” and not having the LEAST BIT OF (natural) HUMAN CURIOSITY about WTF let alone feel ANY RESPONSIBILITY to the customers to HAVE THE INFORMATION AVAILABLE.

She suggested that I try to “Google it”. Why TF should I have to “Google it”? Why TF didn’t she/they know chapter and verse? I thought but held my tongue about what “she should do with Google.”

Had to do some old fashioned research and reporting to come up with this.

There seems to be a pattern here. Several patterns.

But the corporations seemed to rely on “geez we don’t know what the Hell happened” or the “bad apple spoils a barrel” or maybe even the “lone nut” or “lone gunman” or it was just “an accident” or it was “inadvertent” or “this is just a precaution”.

One problem here is that the FDA is acting like the Securities and Exchange Commission letting Citibank (and others) off the hook by assessing a minimal fine and not forcing them to admit/plead guilty to the charges. These were, ahem, “voluntary recalls”, when the FDA should have just Shut Them Down and launched a criminal investigation.

But, like prosecuting the CEOs and Boards of the Big Banksters on Wall Street, I guess we will have to wait until “Hell freezes over” for any of that to happen.

Did NOT go to the FDA website, afraid of what else I might find.

Is all this yet another sign of the looming apocalypse?

P.S. Johnson and Johnson stock UP. Merck stock UP. Novartis stock UP. If there were an authentic, “real” free market in existence, these corporations would have massive drops in stock price and perhaps collapse into bankruptcy. The fact that they haven’t is further proof that the system is impervious to any change whatsoever; there is no such thing as a “free market”; that there is NO Authentic Adam Smith Capitalism on Wall Street; and the, in any case, there is

NO CONSCIENCE in Capitalism.

About Thom Prentice

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BREAKING: THIS JUST IN: Recalls of Over-The-Counter Drugs are Out-of-Control — Another sign of the looming apocalypse? — 26 Comments

  1. So now the only way to get Maalox is to order it for mail delivery from an “external” source like Canada or Mexico or China?
    I am seeing domestic sources selling Maalox for $200.00 a bottle!!!
    Talk about the “drug of choice”!!!!

  2. Does anyone know why Maalox antacid & anti gas tablets are no longer in stores? These worked better than any of the others and I can’t find them. Today I was at Target and also did not see Rolaids. Did something happen to them as well ?

  3. the ingredients in the walmart version are NOT the same. the effects are not the same. would love to know a/ if the product is coming back b/if there is an equivalent from another company. any help?????

    • I’ve been ordering benefibre for my wife from Chemist Direct in England. It takes about 2-3weeks to get it. So far she has been taking it and doing good. Hope this helps some people.

  4. Julie: Thanks for the info on the substitute for Benefiber. I am going tomorrow and search for the product made by Guardian. I have IBS and nothing has worked like the Benefiber did for me. My gastro doc recommended I take it and when I did, never had any gas, pain, etc.

    This is the United States of America. Right on for Freedom of Speech!

  5. Most of the time, when us pharmacists try to get any information on why a recall happened we get met with the same non-nonsensical blathering you talk about. If the FDA forced a company to recall a product, all the information will be available from the FDA in the form of a letter to the company. However, if the company chooses to recall a product, with or without the knowledge of the FDA, they can say or not say anything they want. Many companies have quality control triggers set below the FDA standards so that they can pull their products when a problem is just beginning instead of being attacked by regulatory authorities when it becomes a public safety issue. Us healthcare professionals and consumers are left in the dark.

    If you need a substitute, try matching the active ingredient in whichever Benefiber product you had been using with any store or generic brand. Common ones are psyllium powder and methylcellulose poweder. The only fiber product I haven’t been able to find a mass produced, readily available, consumer product for is guar gum.

    As far as human curiosity goes, that’s not really our job. There is no public health threat (as determined by the FDA) and no way to actually get the product (as determined by the manufacturer). There are plenty of alternatives we can recommend. And we don’t get paid to be curious.

    Now, if ALL my fiber products get recalled, or if they were recalled because they were shown to cause severe intracranial hemorrhaging, THEN I may ask a few more questions.

  6. I was wondering what happened to Benefiber, I have been using it for 2 years and it really helps me, hope it comes back before 2013

  7. I, too, have been taking Benefibrer; I particularly like the travel packs; and I like the way Benefibre does what no other known to me does as well: you can use it in baking, drinking water, juices etc. no taste etc…
    I couldn’t believe it: I went to several stores to fill up. And no where to be found. Instead new products were filled in its place.

  8. I did visit the FDA website, and I typed “Benefiber” in the search box, and nothing came up. Apparently it was not the product “Benefiber” that was in question, as much as it was Excedrin, and a few other products. Why Novartis chose to remove Benefiber from its production is still unknown. I did receive a response from Novartis that was as vague as any that you could have gotten from the FDA. With that said, today I did find Equate at Walmart, and I will try it, as I have been rationing what is left of my Benefiber these past three weeks; and I refuse to pay $230.00 for a 190 servings. All I know is this, my Oncologist had, specifically, stated that I was to take Benefiber, as I was diagnosed a year ago with Colon Cancer Stage 1. He said nothing else, outside of this, and I, religiously, took Benefiber, and was given a cancer free year, thus far. But I did make it a point to write the FDA and Novartis, as a consumer, who has relied on their product, a product that was not in question, but was, unfairly, removed from the shelves as a “precaution”. Whatever that is supposed to mean.
    I hope it is back on the shelves, as I have been told, by 2013; supposedly, it is to be back on the shelves before that, but time will tell. In the meantime, I will, whether I like it or not, depend on Equate for now–unfortunately the one ingredient that Benefiber has is Wheat Dextrin; and Equate only has Dextrin, not sure what the difference is, but I’ll know if the pipes are not flushing properly in a week or so.

  9. Have been looking for Maalox Extra Strength Tablets for a while. I finally called the phone number on the bottle (Novartis) and spoke to a customer service person. He told me that they had temporarily stopped producing their products while they were reassessing and deciding how, when, whether to distribute all them all, but they would not be restarting them all at once. He did mention that there had been problems with a product and told me (when asked) that it had not been with Maalox (obviously not the case, as mentioned above). I received this information after he first ran through a very cryptic script. Even when I asked specific questions, I frequently received a scripted, unspecific answer. Not left with a good feeling, I told him I would have to start using another product in the meantime, but they would have to hope that I would not decide I liked it better than Maalox. I also told him that I could tell that he had a very difficult job. (I wouldn’t like to be in that position.)

  10. Well that explains a lot I too was rx by gastroenterology to take benefiber.Have not been able too find it, after being on it for a year and a half pharmacist didn’t know why couldn’t get it anymore told me to go to web site. On my last colonoscopy had a blockage had to have berrieum enema never before have I had a problem like this til I took this product. Wonder what damage was caused after year and a half of taking the stuff? This should not be happening here in America! I’m pretty pissed off, opioid meds and other foreign objects, like the author of this article I too say WTH! And WTF!!!!!!!!!!!!

  11. Thanks, for the information about Benefiber. I have been wondering why I couldn’t find it anymore. I will try the Equate Fiber Powder.

  12. Suchier – the product at Walmart does not have the same main ingredient that Benefiber has, which is wheat dextrin. The only place I’ve found a comparable product is Family Dollar. They sell a product manufactured by Guardian that does have the same ingredients. It works the same as Benefiber, too.

  13. I purchase Gas-X with Maalox and it helps me tremendously. I kept looking all over for it, and asked store clerk, after store clerk, and they had no knowledge of what happened. However, I was at the emergency room and spoke to a nurse in the e.r. and she said that some of the ingredients in the meds that were beings pulled off the shelves were being used to make meth, and so now those of us who actually use the medicine for legitimate reasons are hurting. So, hope this helps, at least I finally got an answer.

    • Theres nothing in Maalox and GasX that could be used for meth. That nurse sounds like she’s making things up. But I do know that Maalox is made at the same plant Excedrine is and they were all recalled because trace amounts of prescription painkillers could have been in them.

      • The stuff that could be used to make meth was in the old Sudafed formula from a few years back. That product is now a different compound with the same name, and nowhere near as effective.


  14. My in fo is that there was a “voluntary recall” because the factory in Nebrask which produces it and lots of other drugs mixed up and stuff in the Benefiber and other drugs so when I emailed, I received a response that they were “in the process of a multimililiioons dollars upgrade to the plant (no reason why stated ; ) so supplies are limited in some areas like here in Central Texas. This is one of those deals where if they “voluntarily recall” the FDA won’t announce it and penalize them (which is crap). So I guess we have to wait. “Coming later to a theater near you…”

    • Thanks for the info and there is freedom of speech and self expression I appreciate the the sencerity in this! As far as previos comments about language, I disagree, I knew what u meant without u saying it and if a child knows what the abreviations stand for then I wouldn’t worry about language they find on this site, I would wonder how they knew what WTF meant….Just saying! That’s why as a mother of 3 my children don’t use the net without me! Anyway thanks for the info and keep up the good work! I used maalox for upset stomach until, mysteriously, I started having a reaction to it! Idk, strange!

  15. I was told by my medical doctor to take Benefiber for extra fiber in my diet. Now, I can’t find it anywhere. What is the cause for this disappearance?

    • I also use benefiber for my IBS. I now use equate Fiber Powder. It is sugar free, flavor free and dissolves completely in liquid. I use it in my coffee every morning. Got exactly the same results as benefiber. It is distributed by Walmart stores. The disappearance was caused by warehouse problems as I was told by Walmart pharmacist.

  16. Can’t we just write an article without the inappropriate language. Get back to respecting the reader and have some respect for yourself. Not everything has to be “R” rated. Some child might need this article for a school project, think about that.

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