What is Gavison? Gaviscon is a drug that was created in the 60s to early 70s in order to treat acid reflux/LPR disease. It’s made up of 5 key ingredients: calcium carbonate, alginates, aluminum hydroxide, magnesium carbonate, and sodium bicarbonate. Gaviscon is a non-prescription medicine, which is taken by mouth to treat heartburn and gastroesophageal reflux disease. Gaviscon is one of the most popular brands used to treat these issues and works by forming a protective layer that floats on top of the contents of your stomach, therefore stopping stomach acid from escaping into your food pipe. Like antacids in general, Gaviscon is available as a solid, syrup, or tablet. It is produced and distributed in the UK, Ireland, Australia, and Malaysia by Reckitt Benckiser, in the US by GlaxoSmithKline, and in Canada.
Reckitt Benckiser the manufacturer of many household brands like Dettol, Cilitbang, and Gaviscon has been accused by the Office of Fair Trading of creating a monopoly in the market for its heartburn drug Gaviscon.
Reckitt could be fined tens of millions of pounds. In Reckitt’s defense, they released a statement stating they believed that it competed fairly in all of its operations. The OFT moved against the company after a whistleblower made the allegation to BBC’s Newsnight in 2008.
However, if you go beyond all the smoke, mirrors, and jargon this is at the expense of the consumer who has to suffer whilst the giants play a game of monopoly on their health.
The former senior Reckitt executive claimed that the makers of Gaviscon maintained an effective monopoly on the market for years after the stomach medicine came off patent. So if that was the case where are their global shortages?
As someone who suffers from heartburn and Dysphagia, I am sick to the back teeth of excuses. I would buy anything to ease the discomfort regardless if it was a famous brand or not. What Reckitt Benckiser are doing is stopping the manufacturing of their cheaper product in favor of the dearer one to make more profits at the expense of the people that rely on the drug. The pharmacies that say they do not know why they are having shortages are trying to basically fool the consumer. They know full well why this drug is in short supply, but choose not to say.
A senior official at Reckitt Benckiser suggested certain people within the organization plotted to create obstacles to stop rival manufacturers from selling cheap generic copies. The whistleblower alleged the firm had “cheated the NHS” and could have saved it “millions of pounds”.
Reckitt Benckiser (RB) said in response to the OFT announcement: “The OFT has stressed that no assumptions should be made at this stage. RB believes it competes fairly and within the letter and spirit of the law in all of our operations, and has co-operated fully with the OFT throughout its inquiry. So if that is the case why is the UK NHS suing them?
“Gaviscon Advance is a second generation product, superior to ‘Gaviscon Original’. I was on the ‘Original’ for many years then had the upgrade to ‘Gaviscon Advance’ which was launched to provide patients with effective and long-lasting relief from heartburn and indigestion, thus replacing the cheaper version which was taken off the market.
“RB will now review the OFT statement and respond accordingly.” According to ‘RB’ Gaviscon was hit by a global shortage due to one key ingredient, a product that many people around the world rely on but cannot get. So you are telling me you can not farm algae anywhere else than Norway? These seaweed species are used to create medical-grade sodium alginate, which is the key ingredient in Gaviscon. “The shortage is a consequence of poor weather conditions and low harvest yields,” the company said in a statement. “Only alginates derived from a specific species have the precise characteristics to be used in the manufacture of effective heartburn and indigestion products such as Gaviscon.”
There should be other rival pharmaceutical companies that can produce better and cheaper alternatives and once they find themselves on the market I will be buying from ‘RB’ competitors because no one should have a gun pointing to their head that says buy from us or else. If the covid vaccine was invented in record time a dupe alternative for Gaviscon could also be invented.
Knowing what I know now I will be looking to buy less from this company across the board for all my household items.
Reckitt informed both customers about the shortage of sodium alginate and informed them they were working with supply partners to put products back on shelves. “Due to global supply chain challenges, we are experiencing shortages with some Gaviscon products. We are continuing to monitor supply and are working with our suppliers to improve availability,” a Coles spokesperson said.
Gaviscon said that “as a responsible company” it recognized its duty to produce unconstrained access to its product but, unfortunately, the shortage of medical-grade sodium alginate was impacting this. “We are working diligently with our supply partners to secure as much production as possible and will do our best to ensure our consumers, patients, and healthcare professionals have access to the heartburn and indigestion treatment they love and trust,” Gaviscon said.
Lemsip, which is also manufactured by Reckitt Benckiser, contains paracetamol and phenylephrine and is used for the temporary relief of symptoms of colds and flu, including body aches and pains, sore throat, headache, and nasal congestion. “Unfortunately, we are also currently experiencing supply chain issues for Lemsip, which means customers might not be able to find this product on our shelves. We understand the frustration for customers and are working hard with our supplier to improve availability as quickly as possible.”
Is that because the special lemon only grown in a certain area in Spain is not producing enough lemons because there are not enough bees?
The truth behind big supermarket shortage. NHS sues Gaviscon maker Reckitt Benckiser.
The NHS in England has launched legal action against Reckitt Benckiser, the maker of heartburn medicine Gaviscon.
According to High Court documents, Health Secretary Andrew Lansley is leading the action on behalf of health authorities and primary care trusts. The Department of Health refused to comment on the subject of the suit. Reckitt Benckiser was fined £10m last year for abusing its dominant market position in the supply of heartburn remedies to the NHS. A spokesman for Reckitt said the company could not comment as it had not been served with any papers. Papers lodged at the High Court show Reckitt is being sued collectively by all 10 Strategic Health Authorities and 144 Primary Care Trusts in England, as well as Andrew Lansley as Secretary of State for Health.
The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) said in October last year that Reckitt had restricted competition in the supply of heartburn medicines.
The household products maker withdrew the original Gaviscon from the NHS in 2005 and patients were transferred to Gaviscon Advance Liquid. This happened after Gaviscon’s patent had expired, but before a generic name had been assigned to it, the OFT said. That meant that prescriptions were issued for Gaviscon Advance, rather than pharmacists being able to choose a cheaper generic alternative. The OFT’s inquiry followed an investigation by the BBC’s Newsnight program in 2008.
Gaviscon is one of the most heavily prescribed medicines within the NHS. Confidential papers leaked to the program by a whistleblower showed it was also very profitable, with a gross margin of 77% in 2003.
The chief executive of the OFT, John Fingleton, said at the time: “This case underlines our determination to prevent companies with a dominant position in a market from using their strength to seek to restrict competition from rivals”.In response to the OFT’s fine, Reckitt said that it had believed it was acting within the law at the time and respected the watchdog’s findings.
Andrew Lansley will claim compensation at the High Court for the millions allegedly overpaid The makers of Gaviscon are being sued for nearly £90million for overcharging the Health Service for the heartburn treatment. Reckitt Benckiser allegedly charged doctors for a more expensive version of the drug when a cheaper one was available.
The firm, which also produces the Nurofen, Clearasil, and Durex brands, has already been fined £10.2million by the Office of Fair Trading after admitting to breaking UK and EU competition law over its sale of Gaviscon to the NHS.
Now Health Secretary Andrew Lansley, ten strategic health authorities, and 146 primary care trusts are suing the pharmaceutical giant at the High Court for the millions they say were overpaid. The alleged abuse centres on Reckitt Benckiser’s Gaviscon Original treatment, one of the most commonly prescribed branded drugs on the NHS. The product’s patent was due to run out in 2005, allowing rival firms to produce copycat versions, known as ‘generics’, for a vastly lower price.
But Reckitt took steps that appeared to block this process.
It removed Gaviscon Original from the NHS-approved list of drugs, but it did not propose a generic name for the drug which would have helped a cheap replacement version to come onto the market.
Instead, it put forward a more expensive Reckitt Benckiser product, Gaviscon Advance, which was still within the patent. Doctors wishing to prescribe a treatment for heartburn had no other option available. Yet Gaviscon Original remained on sale and could be picked up over the counter in pharmacies.
The person who leaked the documents said at the time: ‘Reckitt cheated the Health Service. ‘It could have saved the NHS millions of pounds. I felt it had to be exposed.’
Gaviscon is one of the most prescribed drug brands in Britain The NHS spends a fifth of its annual £110billion budget – around £22billion – on drugs. The Commons public accounts committee has estimated the NHS could save £200million a year without affecting patient care by GPs prescribing lower-cost but equally effective treatments.
Surely there has to be an alternative rather than letting patients suffer?
Reckitt Benckiser said it was ‘shocked’ by the allegations, adding: ‘Reckitt Benckiser is a responsible company.’ If it was responsible why are people suffering at the expense of this pharmaceutical company?
Although it denied cheating the NHS, it admitted anti-competitive behavior and said it was ‘unhappy with some of the language and the sentiment … in the [leaked] internal correspondence, which is inappropriate.
The amount of money sought from Reckitt Benckiser – £90million – coincidentally matches the pay and rewards package of its boss Bart Becht, one of the best-rewarded chairmen of an FTSE100 company. Becht, a Dutchman, has led Reckitt Benckiser since the company was formed in 1999 through the merger of Britain’s Reckitt & Colman and Holland’s Benckiser. He once said that his company makes ‘very stupid products.
Becht is famous not only for his huge salary but also for his generosity to charity. In 2009 he gave stock options worth £110million to good causes.
If he is reading this he can donate here considering I rely on the drug and am in discomfort.
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