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Digestive Remedies for Overtaxed Consumers : The approach of April 15 occasions a survey of popular antacids. Bottom line: Prices vary widely.

SHOPTALK

March 30, 1995|LEO SMITH | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

You've got a little more than two weeks to get those taxes in, so this column is about antacids for upset stomach, gas, general dyspepsia.

Any questions? Knowing you might be in dire need, we spent last week checking out prices of mostly common and a few not-so-common brands of antacids. If you're in the market for these products, you can go several routes, as you no doubt know. There are good supplies at supermarkets, little mom-and-pops, pharmacies, convenience stores and discount stores. For those of you who would rather avoid aluminum, an ingredient found in most antacids, you can check out health food stores, which are likely to carry all-natural remedies.

Antacids come in several forms, tablets and liquids being the most common. We'll start with the liquids. We priced some of the leading brands at the Central Market and Vons in Fillmore, Alpha-Beta in Santa Paula, Ojai Rexall and Wal-Mart in Oxnard.

Mylanta: A 12-ounce bottle was priced at $5.13 at Vons, $5.09 at Alpha-Beta, $4.55 at Ojai Rexall and $2.93 at Wal-Mart. A five-ounce bottle was $3.49 at Central Market.

Maalox: Twelve ounces was $5.07 at Vons, $4.96 at Alpha-Beta, $4.39 at Ojai Rexall and $2.17 at Wal-Mart. Five ounces was $3.29 at Central Market.

Phillips Milk of Magnesia: The 12-ounce price was $5.13 at Vons, $4.99 at Alpha-Beta and $4.12 at Wal-Mart. At Central Market, four ounces was going for $2.99.

Pepto-Bismol: An eight-ounce bottle was $3.97 at Vons and $2.47 at Wal-Mart. The four-ounce size was $2.99 at Central Market, $2.99 at Alpha-Beta and $2.69 at Ojai Rexall.

Di-Gel: A 12-ounce bottle was going for $4.19 at Ojai Rexall and $3.97 at Wal-Mart. The six-ounce size was priced at $2.89 at Central Market.

Liquids are easy to digest, but some people prefer solids.

Rolaids: A container of 150 tablets was priced at $4.99 at Ojai Rexall and $3.50 at Wal-Mart. A package of 75 tablets was $3.01 at Vons, $2.97 at Alpha-Beta and $2.23 at Wal-Mart.

Tums: A container of 150 tablets was going for $4.49 at Alpha-Beta, $4.89 at Ojai Rexall and $2.87 at Wal-Mart.

Di-Gel: A 90-tablet container cost $5.11 at Vons and $3.97 at Wal-Mart. Ojai Rexall had the tablets at 60 for $3.79.

Pepto-Bismol: A 30-pack was $3.99 at Central Market, $3.49 at Alpha-Beta and $2.64 at Wal-Mart.

Alka-Seltzer: A 24-pack was $4.25 at Alpha-Beta and $3.43 at Wal-Mart (which threw in an additional eight tablets free). At Vons, 72 tablets were priced at $10.13.

Finally, for the homeopathic option, we checked out the Rainbow Bridge health food store in Ojai and found several brands of indigestion treatment.

From the company Medicine From Nature, there was a box of 30 indigestion relief tablets priced at $6.95. From Hyland's Homeopathic, 100 were $5.59, and another product, Nux Vomica, was $4.99 for 250 tablets. And from Bioforce, a company in Switzerland, there was a liquid priced at $9 for 1.01 ounces.

So there is hope for your indigestion after all, even during the tax season. Now, if you happen to have your taxes audited, let us know and we'll do a price comparison on the extra-strength products.

Leo Smith is a regular contributor to Ventura County Life. Write to him at 5200 Valentine Road, Suite 140, Ventura 93003, or send faxes to 658-5576.

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