The Pharmacy Chick

Flying the coup in retail

Naughty Naughty!

Filed under: Uncategorized — pharmacychick at 11:07 am on Thursday, January 13, 2011

Imagine you are a huge drugmaker…and you discover that one of your products doesn’t dissolve properly. You decide to secretly remove all the product from the shelves throughout the US by hiring people to go into stores and secretly buy all the product off the shelves and explicitly NOT allow them to explain why they are doing it….to avoid having a full recall. One of your “buyers” gets a little uncomfortable with all the secrecy and alerts the board of pharmacy in the state he/she happens to live in. Whups! The men in suits at J&J may want to file this under ” maybe this wasn’t such a good idea after all”….

Here is the story:
(RTTNews) – Health care products firm Johnson & Johnson (JNJ: News ) was sued Wednesday by the Oregon State Attorney General John Kroger related to the “Phantom Recall” of defective over-the-counter pain relieving drug Motrin. J&J is alleged to have attempted to secretly buyback defective supplies of Motrin from store shelves instead of notifying retailers and consumers and an immediate public recall.

“Companies that break the rules and put consumers at risk will be held accountable,” said Attorney General Kroger. “This lawsuit is another example of how the Oregon Department of Justice is a national leader in combating health care fraud,” Kroger said in a statement.

The civil lawsuit filed by the state of Oregon reveals that the public disclosure of the problem was delayed for more than a year to avoid negative publicity, before finally conducting a official public recall in February 2010.

According to the lawsuit filed in Multnomah County Circuit Court, J&J units, McNeil-PPC, Inc. and McNeil Healthcare LLC, discovered in late 2008 that supplies of Motrin sold in 8- and 24-caplet containers were defective, and it allegedly hired contractors to go into stores in early 2009 to secretly buy the product without telling wholesalers, retailers or the public.

Inmar, a supply-chain management company, was reportedly asked by the drug maker to visit stores and buy any product found, without communicating anything to the store personnel.

It was in July 2009 that one of the personnel hired by Inmar in Oregon became concerned about the secrecy of the phantom recall and reported it to the Oregon Board of Pharmacy, which in turn notified the U.S. Food and Drug Administration or FDA.

The company has been charged of exposing additional consumers to defective supplies of Motrin for more than a year as a total of 787 eight-count containers of Motrin sold by Oregon retailers remain unaccounted for despite the secret buying.

According to J&J’s documents filed with U.S. FDA, tests conducted on defective product indicated that certain Motrin caplets failed to dissolve properly, and consumers might not have received the expected dose of ibuprofen, which would have led to a worsening of pain, fever or inflammation.

The lawsuit alleges multiple violations of Oregon’s Unlawful Trade Practices Act or UTPA, including employing unconscionable tactics, making certain false or misleading representations, or failing to disclose certain information. Each of these violations of the UTPA carries a maximum penalty of $25,000.

J&J’s OTC drug unit has been plagued by a series of recalls this year, involving some its most popular OTC brands such as liquid Benadryl, Motrin caplets, Zyrtec, and Tylenol for children, primarily due to consumer complaints of a musty or moldy odor that has since been linked to the presence of trace amounts of a chemical called 2,4,6-tribromoanisole or TBA.


Comment by Unchained Pharmacist

January 14, 2011 @ 2:43 pm

Who’s been making these idiotic decisions? Jeoparding reputation for money? I wonder how many more people will now start buying generics. My wife, during the last massive Motrin recall has been converted (kind of have to since only the generic was available). She is no longer DAW2. Ironically it wasn’t because her pharmacist husband told her that generic is just as good (she thought I was being cheap).

Comment by C

January 15, 2011 @ 7:41 am

Take your pick, 1. I’m cheap or 2. I’m smert.

I’ve been buying generics of everything (except Cheerios and Peanut Butter-I have standards) as soon as one comes out. Motrin, Tylenol, coffee. It’s a way to get back at junk food industry. *insert evil smile*

Kidding, well-almost. I just read the ingredients. If they are the same, I’m there.

Good luck to J&J, I’m sure they feel like douches now.

Comment by Erin

January 16, 2011 @ 3:29 pm

Sounds like it is time to buy some J&J stock. I’ll toast one to PC on my vacation when I hit it big!

Comment by loveinmyjob

January 22, 2011 @ 9:29 am

WOW!!! That’s all I can say! I do admire Oregon for being a leader. I lived and worked in Oregon for over 7 years and didn’t realise how outstanding they were until I moved (to Tennessee). They are also leading the way with stricter PSE laws. KUDOS to Oregon!

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