Johnson & Johnson scandals continue as secret emails reveal planned covert drug recall

Tuesday, September 21, 2010 by: Jonathan Benson

Johnson & Johnson has taken a huge hit this year with its massive recall of over-the-counter children’s cough medicine and Tylenol products. But new information gathered through a Congressional investigation has revealed that the company knew about problems with its Motrin pain reliever product as well, and planned to secretly hire subcontractors to buy up the product from store shelves without notifying consumers about potential dangers.

Investigations into McNeil Consumer Healthcare, the division of Johnson & Johnsonthat produces the recalled children’s products, have uncovered emails that prove the company knew about problems with the children’s medicines long before the recall, and tried to perform “phantom” recalls of the product in order to cut losses.

On May 27, 2009, Peter Luther, president of McNeil, wrote the following to other company executives pushing for a secret recall of Motrin rather than an official one:

“Group, given our current financial situation, I hope we’re not really going to double our cost to do this. Let’s make this happen ASAP.”

A little more than a month later, WIS, a recall subcontractor hired by Johnson & Johnson, wrote the following in an email:

“We are exploring another similar but potentially larger recall for July involving children’sTylenol. WIS will look to explore next week the potential quantities in 400 geographically dispersed stores to ‘assess’ the quantities on shelves … this across mass, grocery, drug and convenience [stores]. (Wal-Mart is on the list.)”

At the first Congressional hearing on the matter back in May, William Weldon, CEO of Johnson & Johnson did not testify due to an alleged illness. Colleen Goggins, chairman of Johnson & Johnson’s global consumer products division, testified in his place. And according to a company announcement, Goggins is planning to retire from her position early next year.

Johnson & Johnson has refused to comment on the many allegations, but Weldon will have another opportunity to testify before the committee later in the month.

Sources for this story include:……



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