A company knew that they were producing contaminated children’s medication, yet continued to make and sell it for another year — which is now costing them $25 million.
There was a major recall of Infant’s Tylenol and Motrin in 2010, and now the company behind the products is paying big time. Why? Because they sold the medication, which was contaminated with metal particles, for a year after they discovered there was a problem.
McNeil Consumer Healthcare, which is a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, has agreed to pay $25 million after they pled guilty for selling the meds despite evidence of contamination. While no injuries were reported, the company’s Pennsylvania plant introduced nickel, iron and chromium into millions of bottles, and even after evidence was brought to light, no changes were made and they continued to pump out contaminated meds for the next year.
Court documents revealed that the company became aware of the contamination in May 2009 after they received complaints of black specks within the liquid of the medication itself. The plant involved in pushing out the meds was closed shortly after the recall was announced, and while plans were made to reopen it, that has yet to happen.
In a statement, Acting Assistant Attorney General Benjamin Mizer said, “McNeil’s failure to comply with current good manufacturing practices is seriously troubling. The Department of Justice will continue to be aggressive in pursuing and punishing companies such as McNeil that disregard a process designed to assure quality medicines, especially OTC drugs for infants and children.”
It’s really disturbing that the issues were known for an entire year before the company decided to pull the reins, stop production and recall the medicine. While I don’t specifically remember if I administered any to my youngest, who was a baby during the time the contaminated meds were in circulation, it makes me sick that they knew for 12 months that there was a problem and they didn’t seem to care.
The company now carefully monitors the medicine that it produces with a higher level of quality control and more stringent testing, but it makes you wonder why medication that we give to our infants and children isn’t already subject to the highest levels of testing there is.
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