Johnson and Johnson, one of the most well know producers of cosmetics and pharmaceuticals has pleaded guilty to ‘poor manufacturing practices ‘ which resulted in contaminated children’s medicine.
The case related to the products Children’s Tylenol and Motrin, which were produced at the companies’ factory in Fort Washington.
Poor practices meant that some of the medicine became contaminated with metal particles including nickel and chromium.
The Philadelphia Enquirer has reported that Johnson and Johnson pleaded guilty to one criminal count in court, and were ordered to pay a huge fine of $25 million.
The McNeil Consumer Healthcare Plant in Fort William produced the faulty goods between May 2009 and April 2010, and the fine was set at a percentage of the sales that occurred during this 11-month time frame, plus extra for the filing and the plea.
Market Watch has reported that Johnson and Johnson are now working with the McNeil plant in order to bring its standards up to scratch, in the hope that the company is never pulled up for such a serious breach of conditions again.
In the pharmaceutical game, marketing is everything, and with such a competitive market, one slip up can mean a great loss in consumer confidence which leads to a loss of sales.
Acting Assistant Attorney General Benjamin C. Mizer said:
“McNeil’s failure to comply with current good manufacturing practices is seriously troubling,”
The Inquirer reported on how the contamination of the products came to light, they write:
“In early May 2009, a customer complained to McNeil about the presence of “black specks in the liquid on the bottom of the bottle” of Infants’ Tylenol, according to the plea agreement and documents filed in Philadelphia by prosecutors, including Assistant U.S. Attorney Mary Beth Leahy and Jeffrey Steger, of the Justice Department’s consumer protection branch.
The customer returned the bottle to McNeil, and the company found a mix of nickel and chromium in the remaining liquid.”
Over 30 products including infants’ Tylenol, Children’s Tylenol and Children’s Motrin were eventually found to be contaminated with the rogue metals.
The problem was found the have stemmed from a single broken machine part from Waukesha 88.
The Enquirer stated that the broken part was made up of:
“a composite metal that is mostly nickel, but also includes iron, tin, bismuth, and chromium,”
Thankfully, no illnesses were reported in connection with the contamination, but the health breach could have been a lot worse if it had gone on unnoticed.
Johnson and Johnson have pledged $100 million to upgrade their McNeil plant to ensure nothing like this happens again.