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Recalls bringing subpoenas, J&J says

Associated Press / August 12, 2010

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TRENTON, N.J. — Johnson & Johnson disclosed yesterday that it has received multiple subpoenas from federal prosecutors related to repeated recalls of Tylenol and other products.

The grand jury subpoenas request “documents broadly relating to’’ the recent recalls of products made by McNeil Consumer Healthcare and inspections of two of the unit’s factories.

One of the plants, near Philadelphia, has been shut since April due to multiple problems and is expected to remain closed until at least next summer. The other, in Lancaster, Pa., was not following rules for manufacturing quality and record-keeping.

On July 20, when J&J reported quarterly results, it said it had received a single subpoena. J&J gave no details about that subpoena at the time, but said the recalls and plant closing would cost $600 million this year.

J&J has been under scrutiny by Congress, FDA officials, and others for eight recalls since September covering tens of millions of bottles of the pain reliever Tylenol and other popular nonprescription medicines.

The recalls have involved problems ranging from contamination with bacteria and a nauseating smell on containers to possible problems with the wrong amount of active ingredient and liquid medicines that may contain metal shavings.

The recalled products include liquid Tylenol for infants and children, Tylenol arthritis caplets, Motrin, Benadryl, Rolaids, St. Joseph’s aspirin, and Simply Sleep.