Johnson & Johnson alerts consumers of huge drug recall

February 1, 2010

Popular household name drugs, including Tylenol, Motrin, and St. Joseph's Aspirin, were recalled by New Brunswick, New Jersey-based Johnson & Johnson in mid-January because of a moldy smell associated with the drugs.

Popular household name drugs, including Tylenol, Motrin, and St. Joseph's Aspirin, were recalled by New Brunswick, New Jersey-based Johnson & Johnson in mid-January because of a moldy smell associated with the drugs that has led to at least 70 reported illnesses among consumers. Symptoms of the illness include nausea, stomach pain, vomiting, and diarrhea.

The recall marked the second of its kind in a 1-month span because of the odor, which, according to federal regulators, was first reported to McNeil, a division of J&J, in 2008. The odor apparently has been traced to small amounts of a chemical related to the treatment of wood pallets, Johnson & Johnson reported. The chemical can permeate the air and has been traced to a facility in Las Piedras, Puerto Rico.

Specific batches highlighted in the recall include certain containers of Regular and Extra-strength Tylenol, 8-hour Tylenol, Tylenol Arthritis, Tylenol PM, Children's Motrin, Motrin IB, Benadryl, Rolaids, St. Joseph's Aspirin, and Simply Sleep. Caplet and gel tab forms of the products were involved.

To date, it is not known how many bottles were recalled. In response, Johnson & Johnson has said that it will stop shipping products with the same materials on wooden pallets.

Meanwhile, the FDA is investigating the drug manufacturer to find out why it did not respond sooner if similar reports were made public in 2008.