The trouble continues for Johnson & Johnson, the makers of Tylenol. More of its adult pain relievers have been recalled voluntarily because of complaints about a strange, musty odor. It’s the ninth time in a year that Johnson & Johnson’s products have been taken from store shelves.
“McNeil is taking this action following a small number of complaints of a musty or moldy odor,” McNeil said in the statement. The company said it believes the odor is caused by a chemical called 2,4,6-tribromoanisole (TBA).
It’s not the first time this chemical has caused a Tylenol recall. In December and January, McNeil recalled nearly 60 million bottles of Tylenol Arthritis Relief Caplets and a number of other products after consumers complained of stomach problems linked to the same chemical. TBA comes from the breakdown of a chemical in wood pallets used to transport and store the packaging materials for the bottles.
According to ABC News Senior Medical Editor Dr. Richard Besser, the stomach problems some people experienced are not serious.
“They’re not that severe – we’re talking about vomiting, diarrhea,” Besser said after news of the December recall.
When asked whether more product could be recalled as a result of contamination with TBA, a Johnson & Johnson spokeswoman would not comment. She did say that it’s a different recall, but related to the same issue as the one in December.
The spokeswoman also said no other lots containing TBA have been identified and the company will continue surveillance for the chemical.
Back in July, McNeil announced a recall of 21 different product lots, including Children’s Tylenol, Benadryl and Motrin.
And in the largest recall of children’s medicine in history, Johnson & Johnson pulled more than 136 million bottles of Tylenol, Motrin, Zyrtec and Benadryl — more than 40 products in all — in April.
There have also been accusations of shady practices by the drug giant, including a “phantom recall,” during which employees of a company hired by Johnson & Johnson were allegedly sent to buy affected Motrin off store shelves in lieu of a product recall. In September, a deputy commissioner at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration testified before Congress that the agency did not act quickly enough to stop the phantom recall.