Over the last 24 months, more than 14 million units of drugs and medical equipment have been recalled due to defect.
The latest was a February 17th announcement by the makers of Tylenol who recalled 574,000 bottles of infants’ Tylenol Oral Suspension. The recall is due to the product’s simple dosing measuring system that may fail and fall in to the suspension.
Although McNeil, a subsidiary of Johnson and Johnson and the makers of the product, claim that there are no adverse medical effects that come from the failure, they also advise discontinuing the product’s use if the simple dosing system fails.
McNeil is offering a refund to anybody who experiences the problem. Only seven lot numbers are affected and can be found by going to THIS WEBSITE:
But the Tylenol recall isn’t an isolated event any more.
In January of 2012, 2,000 tubes of Aveeno Baby Calming lotion were recalled due to excessive levels of bacteria in the product and in December of 2011, 12 million bottles of Motrin were recalled because the caplets were dissolving too slowly delaying pain relief.
In September of 2011, An Alabama pharmaceutical company issued a recall of multiple lots of birth control pills because of a packaging error. Specifically, during the manufacturing process, the dosing was flipped 180 degrees putting the placebo or “dummy” pills in the blisters where the active bills should have been. This could cause unwanted pregnancies which led to the recall.(http://www.cnn.com/2011/09/16/health/birth-control-recall/index.html)
Johnson and Johnson recently announced that they were replacing longtime CEO William Weldon with new CEO Alex Gorsky sighting a tarnished reputation due to the recall of their artificial hip implants, over the counter drugs, and safety concerns involving vaginal mesh products that have spurred thousands of lawsuits. Other J&J recalls included a 2011 recall of insulin pump cartridges and 107 batches of surgical sutures due to potential sterility problems. (http://news.yahoo.com/timeline-johnson-johnsons-product-recalls-002110792.html)
Although the Food and Drug Administration may order the recall of certain products, often it’s in the best interest of the company to voluntarily recall products in order to show customers that they would rather lose money than risk patient safety. Still, some companies attempt to mask the recalls in ways that are damaging to their brand.
In 2009, J&J hired contractors to go to each store and purchase the recalled Motrin according to the FDA. This proved to damage J&J’s reputation as work got out that they were trying to conceal the recall and potentially put patients who already purchased the product at risk.
Today, most companies have learned that making a public apology as well as making refunds easy is the best way to weather the reputational storm.
The FDA maintains a website designed to educate consumers on any active recalls. This website includes recall information about food, drugs, animal health products, and medical devices. If you hear of a recall concerning a product you were prescribed or consume regularly, go to THIS SITE (http://www.fda.gov/Safety/Recalls/default.htm) to get more information.
What do you think of all of these recent recalls?