Where Has My Slow Fe Iron Supplement Gone?

Cheryl takes iron supplements. She has iron deficiency anemia, and the vast majority of iron supplements on the market make her ill. She’s come to rely on Slow-Fe, made by Novartis, to keep her iron levels up and her digestive system functioning. Then Slow-Fe disappeared. Her regular pharmacist can’t find any to order, and the only sources online are re-sellers with expired products. Remembering our past coverage of catastrophic OB tampon, Eggo waffle, and Morningstar veggie dog shortages, Cheryl wrote to us, asking for help. Could we help her figure out where her precious iron had gone?

She wrote:

I have iron defieciency anemia. If I take Slow-Fe, I don’t have iron deficiency. If I try and take other iron supplements, I get sick (as in wake up at 3 am and run to the bathroom sick).

However, much like the Today Sponge and OB tampons, Slow-Fe appears to have vanished from the market without a ripple in the news media. My doctor doesn’t know what happened. My pharmacist doesn’t know and can’t find any in the warehouses to order.

Amazon is selling it — expired. From resellers.

Nothing on drugstore.com, wal-mart.com, or about 15 other sites I tried. They all say, “temporarily unavailable.”

There’s no recall that I can find, and Novartis has (ominously) removed the product from their website.

On behalf of millions of women with anemia and less than steel-clad intestines, help me Consumerist, you’re my only hope!

We take the charge to locate missing products seriously. Alert readers might remember the name Novartis from yesterday’s post about Excedrin shortages after January’s recall. We contacted Novartis and they confirmed that Slow Fe is made in the same Nebraska facility that made the other missing meds. That facility suspended production in late 2011, and its products still aren’t back on shelves.

Their statement:

Novartis OTC is conducting maintenance and improvements at our Lincoln, Nebraska facility which manufactures Slow Fe. As a result, we are experiencing a supply disruption at some retailers and Slow Fe may be temporarily unavailable. We are working as quickly as we can to return these products back to store shelves. We apologize for any inconvenience this may be causing our consumers, and appreciate their patience and loyalty.

Thanks, Novartis. For the sake of Cheryl and her fellow anemia sufferers, hope you’re able to get the pills flowing again soon.