Johnson & Johnson Misses Deadline on Recall Documents

Johnson & Johnson didn’t meet a Monday deadline to deliver documents requested by a Congressional committee investigating recent <"">drug recalls involving the company’s McNeil Consumer Healthcare unit. The documents in questions relate to McNeil’s 2009 recall of Motrin tablets.

Johnson & Johnson has been under scrutiny since April, when its McNeil Consumer Healthcare unit recalled more than 40 varieties of Tylenol Infant Drops, Children’s Tylenol Suspensions, Children’s Tylenol Plus Suspensions, Motrin Infant Drops, Children’s Motrin Suspensions, Children’s Zyrtec Liquid in Bottles, and Children’s Benadryl Allergy Liquid.

On May 27, during a hearing into the matter conducted by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, documents were released pertaining to the 2009 Motrin recall. They showed that McNeil hired contractors to buy Motrin IB caplets under orders not to mention the term “recall” after learning in November 2008 that the drugs were not dissolving properly. A memo titled “Motrin Purchase Project” instructed the contractors to “on your schedule to locate and purchase” all of the Motrin eight-count packages. The document further instructed them to “‘act’ like a regular customer in making these purchases.” Neither the public nor the U.S. Food & Drug Administration was informed of the action.

McNeil finally recalled 88,000 packages of the drug in July 2009 after the FDA learned of the purchase effort.

Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Edolphus Towns (D-NY), who has referred to the Motrin purchase effort as a “phantom recall” later wrote to Johnson & Johnson, asking for a “detailed description” about the hiring of outside contractors or employees used to remove products from stores. The letter, dated May 28, also requests all records relating to the 2008 Motrin incident, as well as the names of the contractors used in the Motrin purchase effort.

Now, CNN is reporting that yesterday, Johnson & Johnson’s McNeil unit missed a 4:00 p.m. deadline to deliver those documents. House committee spokeswoman Jenny Rosenberg confirmed this late yesterday, according to the report.

For its part, McNeil told the network had been in contact with the Committee and “submitted documents they requested. We look forward to continuing to cooperate with the committee.” However, Rosenberg once again confirmed to CNN again that Johnson & Johnson did not comply with the Committee’s request.

Rosenberg told CNN that if necessary, the Committee will take further action to make sure the drug maker complies. That could possibly include a subpoena against Johnson & Johnson executives.

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