Pet owners hoping to refill their pets’ supply of Sentinel or Interceptor flavor tabs may have to wait a bit longer. Novartis Animal Health, the company responsible for manufacturing these parasiticides, recently issued a statement that while production, packaging and shipping of one of its products, Clomicalm, has resumed at its Lincoln, Neb., facility, full-scale production and shipment are still pending for others, including Interceptor flavor tabs, Sentinel flavor tabs, Deramaxx, Program tablets and suspension, and Milbemite. Novartis hasn’t provided exact dates for shipping these remaining products, but reassures veterinarians and consumers that “our robust team of staff and consultants is working hard to ensure that normal production resumes as soon as is practically possible.”
In late December 2011, Novartis announced that production and distribution of all products made at the Lincoln facility would temporarily cease in order to address system and process upgrades at the site. Although the company stated that the move to close its facility was voluntary, it became apparent that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had a hand in shutting operations down. Reports released after onsite inspections in 2011 and posted on the FDA's website cited multiple failures in quality assurance and control, including evidence of foreign objects and chipped or cracked product in drug containers and suspected package tampering.
A few months later, in February 2012, the company notified consumers that it would resume distribution and sale of products that had already been manufactured at the Lincoln plant and assured veterinarians and pet owners that they would closely monitor the newly released inventory. However, product supplies quickly dwindled and many of the products have since been backordered, disrupting sales and disappointing pet owners at veterinary clinics nationwide. Making matters worse, the company also received complaints that some of the products—ones that veterinary customers have been told are in short supply—have been showing up in certain retail chain and online stores.
Novartis again reached out to consumers in August 2012 with a letter acknowledging the frustration that pet owners are currently experiencing and requesting that veterinarians save room for the return of its products. The letter from Vice President Andy Ferrigno states, “While we understand your need to do what is right for your business, patients and clients, we hope you will seriously consider saving us a spot on your shelves—we politely ask that you give your Novartis sales representative a chance to earn back your business and not unnecessarily “load” your shelves before year end.”