The Wall Street Journal reports on the allegation that Johnson & Johnson tried to avoid a recall on defective Motrin packages by purchasing the packages without the FDA’s knowledge. According to emails and letters reviewed by the Journal, staff at Johnson & Johnson’s McNeil Consumer Healthcare unit messaged each other in the spring and summer of 2009 about informing an FDA official regarding the use of a contractor to buy defective Motrin off store shelves. But an FDA spokeswoman said the agency was not aware of J&J’s efforts, adding, “Any effort to suggest to the contrary is based on quoting documents selectively and out of context.” But a J&J spokeswoman said McNeil “kept the FDA informed of its actions and removed the product from the market in a compliant manner. However, given the concerns highlighted by the congressional committee with respect to Motrin, moving forward we would look to handle things differently.”
ABC World News also noted that “e-mails obtained by ABC News reveal that senior executives at Johnson & Johnson subsidiary McNeil coordinated the $400,000 Motrin secret purchase program from the very beginning. They wrote, ‘Do not communicate to store personnel any information about this product. Simply visit each store, locate the product and if any is found, purchase all of the product.’ An e-mail shows this program was authorized by McNeil’s president, in which he says ‘Let’s make this happen ASAP.’”
From the American Association for Justice news release.