Once again, Johnson & Johnson has yanked a huge amount of over-the-counter medicines. This time, the recall involved about 4 million packages of children's Benadryl allergy tablets and about 800,000 bottles of children's Motrin caplets from pharmacies and distributors due to "insufficiencies" in manufacturing, a J&J spokeswoman writes us.
Specifically, all product lots of Children’s Benadryl Allergy Fastmelt Tablets in cherry and grape flavors distributed in the US, Belize, Barbados, Canada, Puerto Rico, St. Martin, and St. Thomas and all product lots of Junior Strenth Motrin Caplets distributed in the US. However, there was no indication of any adverse event reports or that the products "do not meet quality standards," she wrote. Consequently, consumers can continue to use the products.
Unlike the series of previous recalls, the health care giant did not issue a press release to announce these moves. When asked to explain the difference in procedure, the spokeswoman wrote this is considered a distributor recall, but that the info was posted on the individual product web sites on Nov. 15, which you can see here and here.
The latest recall is another reminder, though, of the extent to which Johnson & Johnson and its McNeil Consumer Health unit are mired in severe manufacturing and regulatory woes. These began, you may recall, after musty smells, metallic flecks and too much active ingredient were discovered in a variety of over-the-counter products, notably pediatric meds.
Tens of millions of bottles have since been recalled; a plant in Fort Washington, Pa., has been shuttered and may be retrofitted; some 300 plant workers lost their jobs; Congrssional hearings have been held; federal and state investigaitons are under way; consumer confidence in the company is falling; a quality control guru was appointed at the corporate level and at least $600 million in sales will be lost this year (background here, here, here, here and here).