Five years after issuing mass recalls of certain children’s and infant’s over-the-counter products, a Johnson & Johnson subsidiary pleaded guilty to a federal criminal charge for selling liquid medicine contaminated with metal.
According to the US Department of Justice, the subsidiary, McNeil Consumer Healthcare, agreed to pay $25 million to resolve the case after acknowledging they failed to take corrective action after finding out about the adulterated bottles of Infants’ and Children’s Tylenol and Children’s Motrin.
Problems began for the company in May 2009, when consumers filed complaints after noticing “black specks” in the bottom of a bottle that were later found to be nickel and chromium particles. The company subsequently found the same particles during production but continued making the liquid medicines for several more months.
“There were investigative steps taken, but not all of the steps required under all of our internal operating procedures,” company attorney Michael Schwartz told The Associated Press on Tuesday.
Additional recalls were incurred between 2008 and 2010, involving hundreds of millions of bottles and packages of brands including Tylenol, Motrin, Rolaids, Benadryl, and other products due to faulty manufacturing. And their plant in Fort Washington, Pennsylvania was shuttered in April 2010 as a result. It was rebuilt, but will not reopen until further safety measures are taken per the recent agreement.
In the meantime, Carol Goodrich, a spokeswoman for McNeil Consumer Healthcare, said the plea agreement “closes a chapter” for the company.
“McNeil has been implementing enhanced quality and oversight standards across its entire business to ensure we are best able to meet our commitment to consumers, patients, and doctors who rely on our products,” she said.
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