Tylenol has announced the recall of 128,000 bottles of 50 count eight hour caplets, due to a moldy smell. Johnson & Johnson called the risk for adverse medical events “remote”. Including their other brands, Motrin, Benadryl, and Zyrtec, Johnson & Johnson has recalled 150 million units this year alone. A previous recall for a similar reason, a moldy smell, was traced to it’s Fort Washington plant and blamed on a substance used on wooden pallets in the plant leaching through to the products. The consumer complaints then were far worse and included vomiting, stomach pain, and nausea. Mistakes happen, the company making the pallets doesn’t think to test them for possible damage to the Johnson & Johnson products they will hold. Johnson & Johnson never thought about a preservative used on the pallets affecting their packaging. I am more concerned that it seems this has happened twice at the same plant. We as consumers put our trust in the companies making the products we put in our body to protect us. How ironic is it every time a drug that is supposed to help us is recalled for possible adverse effects on us. While Johnson & Johnson seems to be down playing the seriousness of this, I can’t help but think what damage any substance with the ability to leach through packaging, could do to the human body over time.
Again, the most concerning thing to me, is the fact the same mistake has been made twice. The FDA does the best it can, with the resources it has. It can’t be in every factory at all times, and with more and more production moving to other countries, there may be even less supervision. The safety of the products is ultimately up to the manufacturers and we as consumers are left to trust them. In the case of a product having an unusual smell, then the consumer can take matters into their own hands and question it’s safety. However most times a recall is made, it’s for something we can’t see or smell and that’s really scary. Maybe we shouldn’t rush our medical products to market unless they are needed immediately. Maybe the FDA could require all drug companies to test their products before they leave the factory, and subject them to heavy fines for bad products that make it to the public. Maybe the companies could be subject to loss of patents on products that are recalled.
I know we will always have recalls, our products we consume are made by humans, and humans make mistakes. We are also taught to learn from our mistakes, and those that don’t need to be taught. We as consumers put our blind trust in the companies that produce the products and the government agencies there to protect us. They have to do a better job. Maybe a sign should be posted in all these companies reminding them of one important thing. The products leaving this facility may be going to your dad, your mom, your grandparents, or even your children. Did you do all you could do to make sure they are safe?