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State AGs Announce $33M Deal With J&J Over OTC Drugs

26 May 2017

The states alleged that Johnson & Johnson subsidiary McNeil-PPC committed consumer fraud by selling drugs that it falsely claimed were manufactured following federal practices. The case dates to 2009, when Johnson & Johnson began dozens of voluntary recalls of popular over-the-counter medicines for children and adults, including Tylenol, Motrin and Benadryl.

"We're proud Pennsylvania helped lead this national effort to ensure health care companies are held accountable when they mislead customers about the quality of the products they put into the marketplace", said Attorney General Josh Shapiro, who spearheaded the effort. The recalls came amid reports of product oddities, including strange odors and particles found in liquid medicines that the company produced.

Joseph Aspirin, Sudafed, Pepcid, Mylanta, Rolaids, Zyrtec and Zyrtec Eye Drops, all manufactured and distributed by McNeil Consumer Healthcare Division. Odd odors and particles were discovered in liquid medicines the company produced, which were traced back to quality control issues at the Montgomery County plant and others.

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Illinois' portion of the settlement is more than $1 million, which will go to the state, according to the IL attorney general's office.

Between 2009 and 2011, McNeil announced voluntary recalls of certain OTC medications. Class II recalls involve potential temporary or reversible health consequences or where potential adverse health consequences are unlikely.

Virginia will receive about $777,000 of the settlement, Attorney General Mark R. Herring said. Under federal law, a drug is "adulterated" if the methods used to manufacture it or the facilities in which it is are manufactured do not meet required quality standards. McNeil will be required to quickly inform state attorneys general when recalled medications are shipped into their state.

State AGs Announce $33M Deal With J&J Over OTC Drugs