Excedrin may provide fast pain relief, but when it comes to re-releasing the product after a voluntary recall, drug maker Novartis (NYSE: NVS), is certainly taking its time. It’s also being tight-lipped about the rollout.
The good news is that Excedrin Extra Strength and Excedrin Migraine are both available. The bad news is that they’re still not on many store shelves. They are available on the internet, but in the case of Extra Strength, availability is limited.
Excedrin products were recalled in January after a manufacturing problem led to bottles of Excedrin containing stray tablets from other Novartis products, or painkillers produced at the same plant.
Since then, the popular pain reliever has been conspicuously absent from retail outlets. The few bottles still available cost consumers over a hundred dollars at one point from sellers on Ebay and Amazon.com.
So what’s taking so long? Calls to Novartis yielded a few answers. They confirmed that the company “has resumed production,” and that the official timetable is still “sometime in October” with Excedrin and Excedrin Migraine as the first products back on the market.
According to Novartis, Excedrin will roll out of its Lincoln, Nebraska plant on a “line by line, product by product” basis.
“We are taking the necessary time to insure the improvements we’re making are being implemented correctly the first time. We’ve been open with our customers and have shared our plans and progress with them,” the company said.
“As part of our restart plan, we’re using a combination of Novartis and third party manufacturing facilities so that we can produce enough product to meet the demands of our customers and consumers.”
In an email to customers last week, Novartis announced that Excedrin Migraine is now being shipped to stores and should be back on storer shelves in the next few weeks.
It’s news that’s being greeting warmly, with some trepidation, by some of the 290,000 people who like Excedrin on its Facebook page.
“It really IS back,“ wrote Lori Feldmen, “found today at Sam’s in Alpharetta, Georgia.”
In nearby Augusta, Maru Perezcast said the Sam’s Club had lots of Excedrin Migraine “close to 15 dollars plus tax for a bottle w/300 pills. I just bought mine today about 2 hours ago and they had more than plenty.”
But Wendy Pope wants to know “has anyone seen Excedrin Migraine in the St. Louis Missouri location? If so, please let me know where.”
Stacy Title reports that she “went to a Rite Aid and the pharmacist laughed in my face, said it was never coming back in.”
Since there’s been no official word from Novartis if the rollout will be regional or nationwide, all consumers can do is patiently wait until the product makes its return. According to a company spokesperson, that should be “as soon as the end of October.” They anticipate that Excedrin Extra Strength will ship to stores in January 2013.
“We appreciate the patience and loyalty of our consumers and retail partners,” Novartis said in a recent statement, “and sincerely apologize for any inconvenience the absence of these products has caused.”