Florida man threatened to poison J&J products unless it forked over cash
Decades ago, Johnson & Johnson ($JNJ) grappled with a public crisis when someone deliberately poisoned Tylenol and placed bottles back on store shelves. If an alleged extortionist had followed through last year, another round of J&J products could have suffered similar treatment.
J&J is far from the only drugmaker threatened with product tampering. In fact, GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK) announced today that bottles of its alli over-the-counter weight-loss drug were tampered with, and warned consumers to look out for suspect packages. Consumers in 7 states reportedly bought the tampered-with packages. But the J&J case illustrates the security threats big-name drugmakers can face, even far away from their actual facilities.
As the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports, a South Florida man accused of planting pipe bombs at a Publix supermarket also allegedly threatened J&J. Calling himself "the angel of death," Brian Henderson used the company's website customer-contact form to send messages to its New Jersey headquarters last summer, federal prosecutors say.
The prosecutors say Henderson demanded money to guarantee that he wouldn't smuggle contaminated J&J products into 20 stores. They wouldn't say which products Henderson threatened to poison, the Sun-Sentinel reports.
Prosecutors also didn't say how much money Henderson demanded of J&J. He allegedly tried to extort $50 million from Publix. Neither J&J nor Publix actually forked over any cash.
Henderson pleaded not guilty to federal extortion charges. Previously, he pleaded not guilty to charges that he held up a Chase bank in Dania Beach, FL, while wearing a fake bomb around his neck. FBI Special Agent Brian LeBlanc said investigators spotted similarities between that fake bomb and the bomb planted at the Dania Beach Publix.
1M fake Xanax pills intercepted on their way to Egypt from China
Big Pharma puts funds into Interpol effort to thwart counterfeiters
China rounds up counterfeiters as the FDA boosts its oversight there