ABC News has reported that in 2009 Johnson & Johnson engaged in an attempt to buy up defective Motrin packages in order to avoid an official recall. The ABC News story reported that the president of Johnson & Johnson directed contractors to go into 5,000 convenience stores around the country and to quietly purchase all of the defective Motrin product in the store to avoid alerting the public as to the defect in the Motrin.
One of the alleged contractors, Lynn Walther, said he was given instructions: “You should simply act like a regular customer while making these purchases, the document said. “There must be no mention of this being a recall of the product. Run in, find the product, make your purchase and run out.”
ABC News reported that the defect with the Motrin product was that the capsules did not dissolve after it was ingested.
This investigation arose as a result of a previous investigative probe of numerous recalls of other Johnson & Johnson products since last September involving tens of millions of bottles of Tylenol and other Johnson & Johnson non-prescription medicines for allegedly containing the wrong doses of active ingredients and investigations concerning contamination of the medicines with bacteria or tiny metal shards.
The FDA claims it was unaware that Johnson & Johnson engaged in this secret recall, but Johnson & Johnson is claiming that the FDA was aware of this effort.
Congress is currently investigating whether Johnson & Johnson’s attempted the “phantom” recall was conducted without the knowledge of the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) and whether it violated federal laws. The hearing is scheduled for September 30, 2010.
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