In addition to reviewing the sloppy processes of Johnson & Johnson’s drug-making company – McNeil – the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform will also look into a “phantom recall” of Motrin discovered by the FDA.
According to a recent news report the FDA found documents instructing contracted workers to buy up large amounts of Motrin in stores. The workers were instructed to act as if they were normal customers and, if asked, to explain that they were purchasing the drugs for testing. In boldface and all capitals, the workers were told that “there must be no mention of a recall of this product!”
The FDA became aware of the activity when the memo was anonymously sent to regulators. The agency then asked McNeil to initiate a recall. However the recall was Class 2, which means “the recalled products have a low chance of causing major injuries or death, but still pose some risk of ‘adverse events.’ It appears that McNeil never issued a press release about the recall. Companies are not required to issue press releases for Class 2 recalls, though most companies do, as did McNeil for four other Class 2 recalls in the past year.”
It’s unfortunate that McNeil failed to recognize the seriousness of the situation and attempted to take matters into its own hands, rather than just initiating a recall to begin with. Now, McNeil may face more severe consequences. Let’s hope that those consequences do not include harm to any of our friends or neighbors from use of a sloppily-made, and sneakily-"recalled", product. Did McNeil actually think it could do this without detection? This is, indeed, a strange world.