Late last Friday, Johnson & Johnson’s McNeil Consumer Healthcare unit issued a voluntary recall of certain lots of Tylenol (8 Hour, Arthritis Pain & Upper Respiratory Products), Benadryl, Sudafed PE and Sinutab distributed in the United States. The lots in question were manufactured at a plant in Fort Washington, PA before April 2010 when McNeil suspended production at this facility. Production was stopped because equipment cleaning procedures were insufficient or not adequately documented.
A recall is also being issued for certain lots of Rolaids Multi-Symptom Berry Tablets because it was not labeled properly. McNeil claims that consumers don’t need to do anything with the medication they have and that the recall is only at the wholesale level, that is from the stores and suppliers. I find it interesting that they are not having consumers do anything if they have the affected lots given concerns over equipment not being cleaned properly. Even Consumer Reports indicates that given all the different choices, if you have the medication in your cabinet, its best not to risk it.
This comes on the heels of the New York Times reporting that the State of Oregon is suing Johnson & Johnson and the McNeil group for a “phantom recall” where McNeil hired outside contractors to buy back Motrin from the shelves in 2009 because of a problem with the pills not dissolving properly and never alerted the public to the “recall”. Further, just last week, the FDA announced that acetaminophen (the active ingredient in Tylenol) is being overused and too much of it cause liver damage. It is expected that this announcement will lead to decreased usage of Tylenol.
Some weeks things just don’t go your way.