What a long strange trip its been tonight after purchasing a bottle of Equaline chewable aspirin (81mg) at my local Shaws Supermarket. My question: Is it gluten-free? While there's no mention on the box, I'd hate to give it to my daughter with Celiac if it's only going to make her sick. Under ingredients the bottle says it contains "starch" but no mention if it's a wheat or corn starch. If it's wheat, it's a no go for folks with Celiac.
So, I called the number on the bottle, which lead to a long list of questions about contests, food products, and endless lists of things which had nothing to do with my question...until I finally heard "customer service" as an option. Sadly the Customer Service rep. had "no idea" and was puzzled about how to find out. She finally connected me with a pharmacist in Chicago (Osco). The pharmacist there said he had "no idea" but suggested I call the number on the bottle (true story). I told him that I DID call the number and it lead to him. He then suggested I look online and call the manufacturer. I asked him who the manufacturer of Equaline Aspirin was and he said (no kidding) that he had "no idea."
I pressed him to do the investigation, not me. I asked him if he had access to a data base on which meds were gluten-free and he said that he did not but that "we always ask if a customer has any pre-disposing medical problems"...I could only chuckle (do you really think he asks all his customers about medical problems?). While he tried to get rid of me, urging me to call some manufacturer that he didn't know, I pressed him to do the research and get back to me, and to his credit, he agreed (although he said it would take 3-5 days!). Why would that be, I wonder?
In the meanwhile, I dug a bit and discovered that the "starch" is a "corn starch" (at least for their 325 mg pills; could not find out for their chewable 81 mg pills) which means the pills are likely gluten-free. But in doing so, I discovered long lists of common medications that are not. My big point: If you have a family member that is gluten-free, don't assume that any meds are free of gluten. You need to dig, call, look online, and definitely bug pharmacists and big chain pharmacies who are woefully neglectful about having this information readily available.