Johnson & Johnson’s recall response criticized

Company was too slow to address concerns, critics say

In 1982, several people died after taking tainted Tylenol pills, and Johnson & Johnson’s swift reaction was exemplary. But last week, the company “appeared to abandon its own template,” the New York Times reports, drawing criticism from federal officials. On Friday, the company’s McNeil Consumer Healthcare division announced a recall of several hundred batches of medicine like Benadryl, Rolaids and Tylenol. According to a warning letter from the Food and Drug Administration, the recall came 20 months after McNeil started getting consumer complaints about mouldy-smelling bottles of Tylenol Arthritis Relief Caplets; a few people also reported temporary digestive problems like nausea and vomiting. “The F.D.A. comments on Friday were devastating because they make the company seem to be complacent and sloppy,” Timothy Calkins, a professor of marketing at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, told the newspaper. Deborah M. Autor, the director of the Office of Compliance at the F.D.A.’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, told reporters the company should have acted faster. The company said in an email it was working with the FDA to resolve their concerns, pointing to a breakdown of a chemical used to treat wood pallets that transport and store product packaging as the source of the smell. The company has also set up a website,, which provides the list of recalled batches.

New York Times

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