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June 15, 2010: Businessweek Reports that J & J Knew of Phantom Recall

An article in Businessweek on June 11 reports that Johnson & Johnson were aware the “phantom recall” of Motrin tablets in 2008 in which it is alleged that the company hired private contractors to buy up potentially problematic drugs rather than announce a public recall. Bloomberg Businessweek reports that FDA documents show that J & J knew of the Motrin incident which contradicts statements made by a J & J representative at a recent congressional hearing.

Newly released emails sent in 2008 by Inmar the contractor, to McNeil, the drug manufacturer, said that the effort to remove the potentially faulty products “may draw suspicion to what we are doing”

According to Bonnie Jacobs, a spokeperson for J & J , “The FDA was kept fully informed of McNeil’s plans and actions throughout the process,” Jacobs said in a telephone interview. “The documents provided fully support the testimony previously provided to the committee. She added, “Given that there was no safety risk, the objective was to remove the affected product from a unique distribution channel, mainly convenience stores and gas stations, with as little disruption and consumer confusion as possible,” said Jacobs, who declined to provide the documents.

Businessweek reports that FDA disputes these statements and Meghan Scott, a spokeswoman for the agency says that McNeil told the agency it would “sample” from stores where the Motrin had been sent but “they did not inform the agency that they would instruct contractors to go into stores, "act like a regular customer, and buy all of the product in question,” Scott  said in an e- mail.

After learning of the company’s actions, the FDA pushed for an official recall of the Motrin and now Congress is looking into possible criminal penalties against J & J because of events surrounding this recall.

The Law Offices of Eric H. Weinberg have been litigating pharmaceutical drug cases for over twenty years on behalf of injured persons. If you or a loved one has been affected by this recall feel free to fill out a Free Case Evaluation or contact us at 732-246-7080, or toll-free at 1-877-934-6274 and we will be sure to answer your questions.

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