So the next logical question is what happens when your trust is broken? J&J broke my trust by allowing contaminated children’s Tylenol tablets to be distributed to the public for purchase. They did the right thing by recalling the product but the contaminated acetaminophen never should have gotten out. This is in addition to the recalls for Motrin, Benadryl and Sudafed. Tylenol is an over the counter medication but it doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t test it properly.
Acetaminophen (Tylenol) is a common manufactured generic drug. Shoprite does it; Walgreens does it and even Walmart. They hire contract generic manufacturers to make the tablets with their name on the bottle which is also known as private labeling. The same FDA criteria is applied to all manufacturers who make it, the same active ingredient is used but different fillers. The big difference is in the price you pay. You pay a lot more for the J&J logo versus a Shoprite brand.
Acetaminophen (Paracetamol) has few side effects mostly being upset stomach. It is tolerated well since it doesn’t thin your blood like aspirin. Acetaminophen is a simple compound that your body can absorb. I would suspect that it would not be hard to manufacture these tablets.
How Did They Get Released?
Typically, when a pill is manufactured, it is tested before being released to the public. In addition, a few containers are reserved (retain samples) in case further testing is required. All of the testing data is reviewed by a quality control group to ensure that all criteria were met. Some bottles of acetaminophen were contaminated with trace amounts of 2,4,6-tribromoanisole (TBA) which caused the musty or moldy odor. TBA is a by-product of a chemical preservative sometimes used on shipping pallets. It can’t kill you but it can cause upset stomach and even diarrhea.
So from production to quality review, no one caught the bad odor coming from the pills. This is something you shouldn’t have to worry about. I would say that is a massive breakdown in the review process. It was such an error that the FDA audited the manufacturing sight and required that a federal monitor be placed at the site for an extended period of time. This is what happens when even the FDA doesn’t trust the way you manufacture or release drugs.
In addition, previous recalls of Tylenol, Motrin, Benadryl and Sudafed resulted from possible bacteria contamination or contained tiny particles that shouldn’t be there. So let’s summarize, they made it, tested it, saw extra stuff in it, said it was good stuff, smelled it and finally released it without a care in the world.
As consumers, using a product with a name you trust, are we expected to pay a premium for this? No thank you, I am going to stick with the private label brand. I haven’t had any recalls on the private label brands, yet. The medication does the same thing and I don’t have to worry about odors or eating bacteria. My trust on having people take pride on the drugs J&J makes has been broken and will be tough to get back.
Have you switched to private label because your trust was broken?
Update: In its latest recall, Johnson & Johnson is pulling 32.2 million packs of Cilest birth-control pills in Latin America, Europe and Asia, after discovering that a key ingredient isn’t releasing into the body according to specifications. J&J said Tuesday that the problem doesn’t affect the safety or efficacy of the prescription pills, and consumers haven’t been asked to return the packs, only pharmacies and distributors in such countries as Argentina, Germany and Thailand.