In a February 2 press release, Novartis announced that it will now resume shipments of its Lincoln, Nebraska plants already-manufactured Interceptor, Sentinel, Milbemite, and Program products.
The Lincoln manufacturing plant was closed down indefinitely in early January after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a critical report of the plant last June. According to the report, Novartis failed to address consumer complaints about mix-ups between powerful prescription medication and common over-the-counter drugs. Recalls were made on human medications such as Excedrin, NoDoz, Bufferin, and Gas-X. Clomicalm, a pet medication used to treat separation anxiety disorder in dogs, was announced to be possibly affected because it shares a production line with those human medications.
Interceptor Flavor Tabs, Sentinel Flavor Tabs, Program Tablets and Suspension, and Milbemite are packaged on dedicated lines, and packaged in blister packs rather than bottles, so they are not considered at-risk products.
"Drug shortages are certainly a possibility if the shipments don’t resume soon," said Dr. Coates, author of petMD’s FullyVetted.
In response to this potential problem, and after consultation with the FDA throughout January, Novartis has resumed distribution and sale of their supply of Interceptor, Sentinel, Milbemite, and Program. New products will not be manufactured, however, until the plant is cleared by the FDA to be up and running again. Returning to normal production schedules for all veterinary products made in Lincoln was declared a top priority.
"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," said Rick Lloyd, General Manager of Novartis Animal Health in North America. "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."