Chewable Zyrtec Off Shelves Until 2012, McNeil Consumer Healthcare Says

ZyrtecConsumers searching for Children's Zyrtec Chewable Tablets to to treat their kids' allergies will have a long wait until the over-the-counter medication is back on store shelves.

Johnson & Johnson's McNeil Consumer Healthcare is moving production of Children's Zyrtec chewables from an outside supplier to its in-house manufacturing -- a move that will keep the product out of stores until 2012, McNeil spokesman Marc Boston told Consumer Ally. Unlike other Zyrtec products that were part of one of McNeil's staggering run of recalls last year, this was a "planned transition" and the product is not under recall.

(Become a fan of Consumer Ally on Facebook.)"The product will be unavailable through the rest of the 2011," he said. "We apologize to consumers who may be inconvenienced."

Consumers concerned about yet another of the company's products disappearing from store shelves - a product many families have counted on - asked Consumer Ally to check into the situation.

Boston told people they should talk with their pharmacists and doctors to determine what would be the best alternative medicine for their children's allergy symptoms. He said Zyrtec liquid gels and tablets are still available and can be taken by children age 6 and older.

McNeil will post consumer updates as they happen for Children's Zyrtec chewables, Boston said. He could not say if the production transition was part of a cost-cutting measure.

McNeil last year recalled millions of packages of medicines, including Tylenol, Benadryl and Rolaids. In a statement made last month when announcing parent company Johnson & Johnson's 2010 annual results, chairman and CEO William C. Weldon said, "We have made a commitment to restoring these products to the levels of quality and compliance that consumers expect of Johnson & Johnson."

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