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Ciba-Geigy Discontinues Lithium Distribution

May 27, 1993

NEW YORK (AP) _ Drug maker Ciba-Geigy Corp. said Thursday it would stop making and selling its version of the anti-depression medicine lithium because the company could not meet government manufacturing standards consistently.

The drug, known by the brand name Lithobid, comes in the form of slow- release tablets and treats manic depression.

Ciba-Geigy said in a statement from its offices in Summit, N.J., that there is ″no evidence to suggest a safety and efficacy concern with the Lithobid available on the market.″

While the product meets quality control standards, Ciba-Geigy said it has been ″unable to ensure product consistency under Food and Drug Administration manufacturing standards.″

The drug maker discovered during quality control tests conducted over the past year that ″we couldn’t ensure every batch (of Lithobid) was made exactly the same way,″ said Ciba-Geigy spokeswoman Laurie Ostroff, and the company was unable to resolve the production problem.

Ciba-Geigy said it has notified the FDA as well as hospitals, doctors and pharmacies. The company has recommended that patients taking Lithobid consult with their physicians about switching to another brand of the drug.

There are several other forms of lithium on the market, including many generic versions.

Ciba-Geigy acquired Lithobid in 1981 from Solvay Pharmaceuticals, based in Georgia. Lithobid’s annual sales total about $12 million, giving Ciba-Geigy about a 22 percent share of the lithium market.

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