The New York Times reports, “An effort by Johnson & Johnson to buy back defective Motrin pills from store shelves — described as a ‘phantom recall’ by some members of Congress — has come under fire in a lawsuit filed by the state of Oregon against the company.” A Johnson & Johnson unit, McNeil Consumer Healthcare “had hired outside contractors to buy back vials of Motrin in early 2009 because the pills failed to dissolve properly, a problem that could diminish the product’s effectiveness.” Oregon’s “lawsuit suggests that the problems with those Motrin pills were wider than previously known to the public, extending to certain 24-count packages of Motrin as well as those containing eight-count vials.”
The AP reports, “Oregon Attorney General John Kroger has sued Johnson & Johnson and two subsidiaries, claiming consumers were exposed to defective supplies of Motrin by a delay in public disclosure of a recall.” Kroger said J&J “tried to quietly remove Motrin from store shelves…without telling consumers.” The “action has been the subject of a congressional investigation.”
Bloomberg News reports Kroger said J&J “sought to avoid negative publicity with a plan to covertly buy up supplies of the defective product from retailers instead of conducting an open recall.” The complaint, “filed yesterday in state court in Portland, seeks restitution for all Oregon purchases of Motrin, plus unspecified damages.” Kroger commented, “Companies that break the rules and put consumers at risk will be held accountable.”
The Oregonian reports, “Oregon played a key role in the case, thanks to an employee for WIS International, which was hired to buy defective Motrin.” In June 2009, “the Oregon man alerted the Board of Pharmacy about the secret recall, according to Tony Green, Kroger’s spokesman.” Oregon officials “notified the Food and Drug Administration, and in February 2010, Johnson & Johnson announced a recall.”
From the American Association for Justice news release.