Hey, J&J, Can’t We All Just Get Along?

We blogged a while back about the Food and Drug Administration investigating the safety of a number of over-the-counter pediatric medicines, namely Children’s Tylenol, Motrin, Benadryl, and Zyrtec. The drugs are manufactured by McNeil Consumer Healthcare, a division of Johnson & Johnson. The company issued a voluntary recall of some 43 over-the-counter children’s medicines.

Unfortunately, Johnson & Johnson’s cooperation seems to have stopped at the voluntary recall, and the company’s credibility has been called into question. A New York Times article reports that Johnson & Johnson has not been helpful and has in fact been a hindrance in a congressional investigation of the recall.

Representative Edolphus Towns, the chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, says Johnson & Johnson provided inaccurate information and forced delays. For example, Johnson & Johnson claimed the recall affected 6 million bottles of pediatric medicines when in fact it involved more than 136 million bottles, a figure the company had provided to the FDA.

Johnson & Johnson contends it has fully cooperated with the investigation and has not tried to mislead anyone. It says it handed over some 20,000 pages of documentation to the congressional committee and has been available for questioning.

It will be interesting to see how the story plays out.