Doctor’s prescription note: “Take two Tylenols and I will
absolutely, definitely be seeing you again tomorrow morning.” I remember as a child how comforting Tylenol can
be when you’re sick. But I didn’t know
that it now might actually be making people sick. Faithful consumers of Tylenol products should
be aware that the
company has issued a recall of over 40 children’s versions of its
over-the-counter products early this May.
Johnson & Johnson, the company that makes Tylenol, has also issued
recalls for Benadryl, Motrin, and Rolaids.
This is the fourth Tylenol recall in a period of seven months, with the last being a recall of Tylenol Arthritis in January. Several users of Tylenol products had complained of nausea and vomiting in connection with a moldy, mildew-like smell coming from the products. Not so good news, indeed. Thanks for the medical advice, doc.
Even more disappointing for the household-trusted name brand
is the recent investigation probe by the FDA of a Tylenol production
facility. An FDA report issued also this
May reveals shocking
conditions at the Tylenol plant which were described as sub-quality and
involved countless violations of safety standards. The report suggests that the FDA found issues
with nearly every system operation at the plant. Research experts claim it’s one of the worst
reports they’ve ever seen.
To give you an idea of how bad it was, inspectors discovered layers of thick dust everywhere and grime on production equipment. They also found a large hole in the facility ceiling, and pipes which had apparently been repaired with duct-tape. Gross. Not quite what you’d imagine from a company that sells a product that apparently makes everything better.
In even grosser connections, the culprit in the recalled
products has been
identified as a bacteria known as B. cepacia. B. cepacia is apparently antibiotic-resistant
and has been linked to infections in hospital patients. It was found on several drums used in
transporting the products. This makes
sense, I guess- I’m not really familiar with any popular lines of
anti-bacterial Tylenol, so maybe they aren’t experts in that particular field.
As someone who places their trust in name-brand products, I am severely disappointed. What’s next? Dirty Band-Aids? Used Pampers? Dried out Pentel pens? I’ll bet someone will eventually strike it big by making the word “generic” a trademark name. Hmmm…
Most people don’t recall (pardon the pun) the last big
scandal involving Tylenol, which happened way back when in 1982 in what is
known as the “Chicago
Tylenol Murders”. Seven people who unknowingly
took cyanide-laced Tylenol died in
In some ways I think the present Tylenol investigation is worse, even though no one has lost their life to the products. The 1982 murders involved tampering which occurred after production, and authorities were unable to identify any suspects. Here, we are talking about a lack of diligence, plain and simple, which means that the injuries that have occurred could potentially have been prevented.
The 1982 incident left behind a legacy of improved safety
standards for the entire over-the-counter industry. I wonder if this particular case will leave
behind a similar legacy. All I can think
about is whether Tylenol will be able to restore public trust in its name. Even after the FDA
slammed them hard, Tylenol supposedly still didn’t respond quickly enough,
and the FDA even had to issue them a warning.
Too bad they weren’t able to administer some Tylenol to the production lines and alleviate the symptoms of faulty operations. But that’s just my point- all the safety and health violations are only symptoms of the more deep-rooted illnesses of thoughtlessness and carelessness. And those are the kinds that can be the most difficult to cure.
But seriously, though, if you’ve purchased Tylenol recently,
you might want to toss or refund the bottles and switch to a different brand in
By: Jay Rivera