Dozens of antacid brands, including Johnson & Johnson's trio of Rolaids, Pepcid and Mylanta, aren't available in the US due to recalls. As J&J works to get its products up to FDA muster and back on shelves, the pressure's on generic store brands such as Kroger’s and CVS private-label products to meet demand.
At a CVS store in Fortville, Ind., USA Today spotted a sign on a shelf where Pepcid AC should have been: "Looking for Pepcid AC products? Try CVS/pharmacy Brand for the same great results."
Less reputable outlets are looking to meet demand — witness the recent theft of $500 of heartburn products (either for personal or black market use) from Target.
Reasons for the massive recall range from Mylanta's omission of alcohol in its flavoring agents, to Rolaids user complaints of metal and wood particles and Pepcid's possible risk of bottles being punctured during packaging.
According to Drug Store News, one in ten people buy an antacid at least once a month, and sales in 2010 reached $1.2 billion. The top three brands in terms of market share are: Prilosec OTC, with $288.5 million in sales; Zantac 150, with $72.7 million; and Pepcid Complete, with $53.9 million.
Prescription-only Prilosec and Zantac began offering over-the-counter varieties while competitors like Tums have increased production to meet the demand.
The 18 antacids involved in recalls include:
Rolaids Extra Strength Softchews, Wild Cherry.
Rolaids Extra Strength Softchews, Cherry.
Rolaids Extra Strength Plus Gas Softchews, Tropical Fruit.
Rolaids Multi-Symptom Plus Anti-Gas Softchews, Tropical Fruit.
Pepcid Complete chewable tablets, 50-count Tropical Fruit.
Pepcid Original Strength AC tablets, 90-count.
Mylanta Regular Strength Original, 12-ounce.
Mylanta Original, 5-ounce.
Mylanta Regular Strength Mint, 12-ounce.
Mylanta Maximum Strength Cherry, 12-ounce.
Mylanta Maximum Strength Mint, 12-ounce.
Mylanta Maximum Strength Original, 12-ounce.
Mylanta Maximum Strength Original, 24-ounce.
Mylanta Ultimate Strength Mint, 12-ounce.
Mylanta Ultimate Strength Cherry, 12-ounce.
Mylanta Supreme Tasting with Calcium Cherry, 12-ounce.
Mylanta Supreme Tasting with Calcium Cherry, 24-ounce.