The makers of this children’s Tylenol seemed to think it was OK to pollute our nation’s children – even if it meant a federal criminal charge.
Johnson & Johnson subsidiary McNeil Consumer Healthcare ‒ which makes Infants’ and Children’s Tylenol and Children’s Motrin ‒ agreed to pay $25 million to resolve the case, the Associated Pressreported, citing court documents. The deal came at a plea hearing Tuesday afternoon.
“The proposed criminal resolution is sufficient to punish McNeil for its past failures and to deter McNeil from violating” federal law in the future, prosecutors wrote in a memo to the judge overseeing the case.
As reported by RT:
“Metal particles ‒ including nickel, iron and chromium ‒ were introduced during the manufacturing process at McNeil’s plant in Fort Washington, Pennsylvania. The company began a voluntary recall in April 2010. The drugs may also have contained more of the active drug ingredient than specified, the company said in a statement at the time.”
According to the New York Times, Marc Boston, a McNeil spokesman, had this to say:
“The particles may be solidified product ingredients or manufacturing residue such as tiny metal specks.”
Though while the contamination issue is concerning all by itself, the truly large problem is that Johnson and Johnson knowingly continued to sell the product despite known adulteration. The prosecutors accused the company of continuing the sale of the product for approximately a year after the problem had surfaced. Immediate action wasn’t even in McNeil’s line of sight.
Court documents reveal that a consumer had reported black specks inside Infants’ Tylenol in 2009, leading to McNeil to find metal particles during production. Still, production continued to months.
As mentioned, the problem was traced back to machinery at the Fort Washington plant in PA by the Food and Drug Administration. This is where manufacturing violations were discovered, where airborne contamination from a chemical used for wood pallets riddled the area. The plant was shut down in 2010, rebuilt, but hasn’t re-opened.
Johnson & Johnson has been forced to issue a variety of pharmaceutical recalls since 2009. McNeil was not the only subsidiary that had quality-control failures during that time period.