The Johnson & Johnson Recalls Just Keep on Coming

The Johnson & Johnson Recalls Just Keep on Coming

September 26th, 2011 // 12:12 pm @

Just as Johnson & Johnson finally resumes shipments of one of its Tylenol over-the-counter meds, the healthcare giant is once again beset by manufacturing problems that have hurt sales and its venerable corporate image. This time, thousands of prefilled syringes containing its Eprex anemia drug have been recalled from 17 countries due to inconsistent potency.

Two batches, which originally contained about 200,000 syringes, were involved in the voluntary recall from Australia, Belgium, Canada, Egypt, France, Germany, Italy, New Zealand, Portugal, Sweden, Taiwan, Albania, Canada, Egypt, Israel, Russia, Spain, Taiwan, UK and Ireland. Eprex, which is not sold in the US, is similar to the Procrit anemia that J&J sells.

A J&J spokesman writes us that only 6,300 or so syringes should remain on the market that might be affected. Health regulators have placed tight potency restrictions on the use of Eprex and similar anemia drugs, including Procrit and Amgen’s Epogen, over safety concerns.

The recall is yet another blow to J&J. Normally, product recalls do not generate much notice. But J&J, you may recall, has recalled tens of millions of products over the past 18 months or so, including numerous over-the-counter meds, contact lenses, epilepsy meds and hip replacement devices, among other items. There have also been shortages of Tampons and shampoos.

The difficulties reflect a series of manufacturing gaffes and embarrassing attempts to compensate that led to an FDA probe; congressional hearings; lost sales; a closed plant; managerial changes; eroded consumer confidence; lawsuits; a consent decree and calls for ceo Bill Weldon to resign. Last year, some $900 million in sales were lost, in fact. Eprex and Procrit, by the way, had combined sales of last year about $2 billion and the latest recall will only add to the financial gloom in the boardroom.

Source: Pharmalot

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