J&J Sued For Trying To Avoid Recall By Sending People To Buy Up Defective Motrin

from the health-and-safety dept

Consumerist points us to the rather stunning story of how pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson tried to avoid doing an actual recall on defective Motrin it discovered by, instead, hiring people to go around the country buying up the pills. For those who already bought them? Too bad. The company did eventually do a full recall and has admitted that it probably should have told regulators that it was secretly buying up all the medicine. One of the people hired to buy up the product realized that something underhanded was going on and alerted officials. The instruction sheet he had been given stated:

“You should simply ‘act’ like a regular customer when making these purchases. THERE MUST BE NO MENTION OF THIS BEING A RECALL OF THIS PRODUCT!”

When the guy was questioned as to why he was buying such a large amount of Motrin he just brushed aside the questions. Separately, J&J emails reveal that execs congratulated each other on a “great job” and a “major win” for originally avoiding having to do a full recall. Feeling safer?

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Companies: johnson & johnson

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Comments on “J&J Sued For Trying To Avoid Recall By Sending People To Buy Up Defective Motrin”

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26 Comments
Chris Rhodes (profile) says:

For Anyone Who Doesn't Want to Read the Link

Congressional records and Kroger’s complaint say the trouble started at a manufacturing plant in Puerto Rico. The company learned in November 2008 that a batch of Motrin tablets didn’t dissolve as fast as expected, impairing how much ibuprofen a consumer would get.

So the problem was that the pills were not as effective as they should have been.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: For Anyone Who Doesn't Want to Read the Link

They were covering it up by eating an expense, that would never have harmed anyone. While bad, not as bad as the complete lack of disclosure of 100+ companies (minus Google, partially) after breaches occurred one year ago upon their Information Systems. (We still don’t know what these 100 companies that China/etc may have root on.)

Chris Rhodes (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: For Anyone Who Doesn't Want to Read the Link

that would never have harmed anyone.

I wouldn’t go that far. I don’t feel I’m qualified to make that kind of medical determination.

Sure, you and I may just take aspirin (as an example) for minor aches and pains, but there might be people out there taking it as a blood thinner, where ineffectiveness on its part could have deadly results.

Valkor says:

Ethics and perception

On the one hand, this batch of ineffective pills seems to have only gone into little 8-packs. I doubt any one relying on Motrin for a serious medical reason would be buying that *few*. On the other hand, JJ kept shipping the things for FOUR MONTHS and didn’t do their little “secret shopper” trick for three months after that. On the gripping hand, if JJ doesn’t mind selling 800 packages of placebo in Oregon, should I trust ANYTHING they sell? It looks like their desire to avoid a recall on even a small number of meds is very high, and their value placed on customer service very low.

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