New Tylenol recall fifth in a year for Johnson & Johnson

tylenol 8-hour recall

Another Tylenol recall, this time for Tylenol 8-Hour Caplets, is the fifth recall in the past year for Johnson & Johnson. Image: CC ragesoss/Flickr

A Tylenol recall is the latest embarrassment for McNeil Consumer Healthcare, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson. The Tylenol recall is the fifth recall in a year for the drug maker, which is under investigation by Congress for its quality control practices. This time, Tylenol is being pulled from the shelves because of widespread customer complaints of a musty odor in the bottles.

Tylenol 8-Hour recall

The latest Tylenol recall was announced Monday. Johnson & Johnson’s McNeil Consumer Healthcare division voluntarily removed about 128,000 bottles of 50-count Tylenol 8-Hour Caplets. The New York Times reports that McNeil initiated the Tylenol 8-Hour recall after consumers complained of a “musty or moldy odor” in products sold in the U.S. and Puerto Rico. The Tylenol recalled was made at the company’s troubled Fort Washington, Pa., plant before the facility was closed in March. A McNeil spokesperson said the musty odor was likely caused by contamination from a chemical used to treat wooden transport pallets that leached into the Tylenol — the same cause of Tylenol recalls in January, June and July of products made at a McNeil plant in Puerto Rico.

Tylenol recalls an ongoing series

Several recalls this year by the Johnson & Johnson subsidiary prompted a Congressional inquiry. CNN reports that last November, five lots of 100-count Tylenol Arthritis Pain were recalled for a stench causing nausea, stomach pain, vomiting and diarrhea. In December, the Tylenol recall was expanded to all lots of the product. In January, the Tylenol recall was expanded further to numerous lots of Tylenol, Motrin and other non-prescription drugs after consumer complaints of odor and nausea. In May, 50 children’s medicines were recalled because of quality control and safety concerns.

An inadequate quality control plan

Johnson & Johnson closed the McNeil plant in April. Reuters reports that the company has since been revamping the plant’s quality control plans to address violations uncovered in an investigation by inspectors from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The FDA found thick dust, grime and contaminated drug ingredients. Drugs manufactured at the Fort Washington plant contributed sales of about $650 million a year to Johnson and Johnson’s bottom line. Bloomberg reports that the recalls and plant closings will reduce the company’s sales this year by about $600 billion.

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