Novartis parasiticide has been out of production since December 2011.
Production of Novartis Animal Health products at its Lincoln, Neb., facility has resumed and Sentinel Flavor Tabs are once again available to veterinarians and pet owners. The beef-flavored tablets, which are given orally to protect dogs from heartworms, fleas, whipworms, roundworms and hookworms, have been absent from the market since Novartis suspended production at the facility in late 2011.
The company is reintroducing the product at a lower price that Novartis hopes will boost compliance and “establish a new standard of care for clinics,” says Jim Blacka, DVM, global head of professional services at Novartis Animal Health, in a company release. “Pets will receive broad spectrum protection against five parasites at a price commonly seen in the marketplace for products that give protection on only three.”
Blacka says Sentinel Flavor Tabs have a long history of effective flea control due to the product’s active ingredients, lufenuron and milbemycin. “Lufenuron has been used successfully over 15 years to help stop fleas before they become adults,” Blacka says. “This active ingredient, coupled with milbemycin oxime for heartworm and intestinal parasite prevention … positions Sentinel Flavor Tabs as the new standard of care.”
In a letter to veterinarians mailed the week of April 8, Novartis says the new pricing—about half of 2011 prices—is not a temporary promotion but permanent. The company also says it will not reintroduce Interceptor, a heartworm control product containing just milbemycin, at all. “Providing broad-spectrum heartworm and flea preventive at these prices creates a new standard of care in the market,” the letter states. “Therefore, we have discontinued production of Interceptor (milbemycin oxime) Flavor Tabs for the U.S. market.”
Novartis says production of Sentinel was restarted earlier this year, and with inventories in stock for all sizes, the product is now being distributed to veterinary clinics throughout the United States.
Prior to the Lincoln facility shutdown—which Novartis initiated voluntarily in 2011 after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) conducted onsite inspections and posted reports of multiple quality control failures—Novartis Consumer Health Inc. produced a variety of products at the site, including Interceptor, Deramaxx and Clomicalm animal health products and over-the-counter human health products such as Excedrin. A recent FDA release estimates the cost due to product recalls and facility improvements to be around $120 million.
Novartis also recently reported that Deramaxx (deracoxib), a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug, is being produced at a contract facility and is also back in full supply.