Shocking Inspection of Tylenol Plant

By Jennifer Tarbox
Published May 16, 2010
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The FDA released May 6th it’s inspection report of a Tylenol Plant in Fort Washington, Pennsylvania, noting that the conditions at a Johnson & Johnson owned plant were so bad, legal action might be warranted.

Today, May 16, 2010, published an article citing David Lebo, a former Johnson & Johnson employee, saying the report was “the worst I’ve seen. It suggests that basically the FDA found an issue with almost every system at the plant.”

On Friday, May 14th, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform announced it would hold a hearing on May 27 to examine the recall and had invited J&J Chief Executive William Weldon to testify.

What will the Chief Executive have to say? Very little that comforts this young mother.

Just a few months ago, there was another huge recall of not only Tylenol products, but also Benadryl, Rolaids, Motrin, and other over the counter drugs. This recall resulted from a foul odor, making people nauseous. McNeil, the parent company for Johnson & Johnson, has said that the conditions listed in the report are “unacceptable” to them, but their less than comprehensive response thus far to a host of complaints makes me suspect their main concern is a cost-benefit analysis that favors their bottom line.

This is Johnson & Johnson’s fourth recall in 7 months.

My chief concern lies with the fact that the FDA appears to be responding to a crisis instead of proactively seeking to prevent these types of violations. Is the FDA guilty of waiting until conditions are so abhorrent that they MUST take action? What other factories producing materials we depend on every day are grossly negligent in their manufacturing procedures. The FDA is responsible for “protecting the public health by assuring the safety, efficacy, and security of human and veterinary drugs, biological products, medical devices, our nation’s food supply, cosmetics, products that emit radiation, and tobacco products.

The FDA is also responsible for advancing the public health by helping to speed innovations that make medicines and foods more effective, safer, and more affordable; and helping the public get the accurate,
science-based information they need to use medicines and foods to improve their health.”

Today I am looking for alternative, generic medicines for my teething thirteen month old son. But I am also extremely skeptical of the Food and Drug Administration’s oversight ability as I await the fallout from this latest information about the companies who are supposed to have our best interests, and the best interests of our families, at heart.

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