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Pfizer withdraws liquid Gelusil from market — Snaps ties with contract firm

P.T. Jyothi Datta

Mumbai , Feb. 26

CONSUMERS used to gulping a few capfulls of antacid Gelusil after a heavy meal, could do well to first check the manufacturing date.

Pfizer India, the company owning the Rs 20-crore Gelusil brand, has withdrawn all dosage forms of its liquid Gelusil due to odour-related problems.

The company has, in fact, gone one step further and snapped ties with the Andhra Pradesh-based Greesha Laboratories Pvt Ltd — the third party manufacturer that had apparently produced the defective product.

A Pfizer spokesperson told Business Line that the company has initiated the process of withdrawing all lots of Gelusil MPS liquid — in the 50 ml, 170 ml and 400 ml pack sizes — manufactured between May 1, 2002 and January 31, 2004. The withdrawal was initiated following a consumer complaint on the odour.

The multinational pharma company decided to withdraw all packs of the liquid product, as opposed to lifting only the defective pieces, to prevent any further repercussions related to this lot of products.

The company official confirmed with the correspondent that Pfizer had discontinued its contract manufacturing agreement with Greesha following the incident. Greesha had commenced third party manufacturing for Pfizer in 2002. It was producing a couple of products that were earlier manufactured at Parke Davis' Hyderabad plant. But following Pfizer's acquisition of Parke Davis and the subsequent rationalisation of manufacturing facilities in India, the Hyderabad plant was closed and manufacturing moved to Greesha.

Pfizer is now scouting for a new contract manufacturer for these products, the company official said.

Meanwhile, Pfizer reiterated that the withdrawal of the product is a voluntary recall, as part of its "commitment to product quality." The recall is not related to any "risk to health" concerns, it added.

As for consumers who have already bought a bottle of Gelusil liquid, manufactured between the said dates - it would be advisable to put away that bottle and opt instead for a Gelusil tablet!

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