Excedrin Still Giving Headaches to Novartis

Excedrin Still Giving Headaches to Novartis

Fans of the popular pain reliever Excedrin just can’t get a break.

First the product was part of a voluntary recall at the beginning of the year when some packages were found to contain stray tablets, caplets from other products, or broken tablets.

Then a planned October re-launch of Excedrin products  was delayed until mid-November after problems continued to plague the Lincoln, Nebraska factory where the pain relievers are manufactured.

Now that it’s finally showing up on store shelves, some consumers are confused about the expiration dates on the new bottles of Excedrin Migraine because they are similar to bottles of the recalled product.

In a statement on its website, Novartis (NYSE: NVS) assured customers that the Excedrin Migraine that is back on the market is safe to use. It also gives instructions on how to check the bottle’s lot number and expiration date. If the bottle has a lot number that is 7 digits long and has two letters as its second and third digits, it was not part of the recall.

Consumers can also check the NDC number on the upper left corner of the front panel of the box and on the upper right corner of the bottle’s front label. If the bottle has the following numbers, it also was not part of the recall:

  • For 24 count Excedrin  Migraine: 0067-8103-24
  • For 100 count Excedrin  Migraine: 0067-8103-91
  • For 200 count Excedrin  Migraine: 0067-8103-92
  • For 300 count Excedrin  Migraine: 0067-8103-33

As part of its re-launch, Novartis has released a migraine app that lets people log migraine episodes and share them with doctors, to help better understand what activities, foods and beverages are associated with migraines. The “My Migraine Triggers” app is available free on iTunes.

According to a recent Novartis survey of 1,000 women who suffer migraines, 93% said they wanted a better understanding of their migraine triggers, yet only 11% said they currently track potential migraine triggers regularly.

Since the January recall, Novartis has periodically updated the 293,000 people who “like” Excedrin on its Facebook page about the recall and production delays. While some posted complaints about the company taking too long to reintroduce the product, many expressed their dissatisfaction with generic alternatives, and how nothing worked as well as Excedrin.

That sharing of stories apparently inspired the company. Last month, visitors to its Facebook page were invited to enter a “What’s Your Migraine Relief Story?” contest for a chance to win $5,000.

But even that apparently isn’t going so well. Several people have posted that they’re having difficulty entering the contest.

Back on November 29, Chandra Killion Organ wrote “I can’t post my story…keeps telling me something went wrong and to try back later….please fix!!!!.”

Excedrin responded that it “experienced a temporary technical difficulty with the site but are happy to report that the contest page is back online.”

Days later, Tami Holsomback-Honeycutt wrote “I’m beginning to wonder if this contest is for real!!! I have sent multiple messages stating that it wouldn’t complete my entry but have NOT received a reply back from anyone. “

And Claudia C. Davis wrote “I still cannot enter the migraine contest. Will it ever be fixed? I tried two browsers.”

Another common complaint on Facebook has been the limited release of Excedrin products.  Currently, only Excedrin Migraine is available in stores and online.

Novartis says that it is “returning brands on a product-by-product basis” and anticipates that Excedrin Extra Strength will ship to stores in January, 2013.

There’s been no word on when other Excedrin products such as Tension Headache, Back & Body, Excedrin PM and Sinus Headache will return.

Authored by: Richard Lenti