Experiencing A Maalox Moment: The OU Certifies As Kosher Novartis Consumer Health’s Heartburn Reme

September 26, 2005

Novartis Consumer Health, Inc. and the Orthodox Union have jointly announced the first kosher certification of a mainstream adult over-the-counter (OTC) medication, Maalox®, the popular heartburn remedy. Today’s announcement is the second time Novartis has received a kosher certification on one of its OTC products.image

With last year’s announcement of the kosher-certification of Triaminic®, a children’s cough, cold and allergy product, Novartis became the first major OTC company to receive OU certification.

Maalox® will begin carrying the kosher certification symbol in early October. However, formulations of Maalox® that are currently on the shelves already are kosher compliant. This includes all chewable and most of the liquid formulations. The only product that is not kosher-certified is Maalox® Total Stomach Relief.

Now Maalox® will be available to the kosher consumer as well as to those who may not keep kosher but who look for the OU symbol as a sign of quality. Those OU products which do not contain meat or dairy are also popular among vegetarians and those who are lactose intolerant.

“The kosher certification of Maalox® is another effort by Novartis Consumer Health, Inc. to fulfill the needs of our diverse consumer base,” said Brian McNamara, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Novartis OTC North America. “We were the first to offer a kosher certified medicine with last year’s release of Triaminic®, a children’s medication. The certification of Maalox makes us a trailblazer in the adult medicine category.”

“The certification of Triaminic paved the way for the certification of Maalox®,” explained Rabbi Menachem Genack, Chief Executive Officer of OU Kosher. “With Triaminic®, a formerly untouched frontier in kosher certification was reached when the over-the-counter pharmaceutical received the OU symbol. Now we extend that frontier with the certification of Maalox®.”

Kosher certification is not required for prescription medications, but it is a requirement for over-the-counter medications – such as Maalox® and Triaminic® – which are not used in life-threatening situations or in cases of serious illness.

The Orthodox Union is the world’s largest kosher certification agency, certifying over 400,000 products produced in nearly 5,000 plants located in 77 countries around the world, including the Novartis Consumer Health plant in Lincoln, Nebraska, where all Maalox® and Triaminic® products are manufactured.

The newly certified products include Maalox® Regular Suspension cherry and mint; Maalox® Max Suspension cherry, mint, wild berry, lemon and vanilla crème; Maalox® Regular Chewable wild berry and lemon; Maalox® Max Chewable assorted fruit, wild berry and lemon and Maalox® Antacid Barrier Chewable cherry and mint.

Rabbi Dr. Eliyahu Safran, Senior Rabbinic Coordinator of OU Kosher, supervised the certification process of Maalox® and Triaminic®, and noted that the taste of the medication remains the same.

“OU certification came about after a comprehensive review by the OU and cooperation by Novartis,” said Rabbi Safran, who noted that in the case of Maalox®, as with Triaminic®, Novartis’ experience in dealing with the rigors of the FDA regulatory process made it particularly easy to work with the company on meeting the OU’s strict requirements. He lauded Novartis’ “full compliance to assure that Maalox®’ ingredients met OU standards.”