Congress to sift FDA/J&J finger-pointing claims

J&J/Tylenol watchers concerned about the company's brewing storms with the FDA and Congress can rest easy--lawyers are now running the show.

The FDA knew about the company's Motrin buy-back scheme, in which J&J contractors visited retailers to purchase the substandard product and get it off the shelves. There was no formal agreement, however, say J&J lawyers in a Wednesday letter to Congress, according to Reuters.

And, according to the lawyers, J&J management had no indication of regulatory opposition to the buy-back plan. "We believe this record illustrates that McNeil acted with good intentions by keeping the FDA apprised of its actions and that there was no intent to conceal McNeil's activities from the FDA," write the lawyers.

Further, counsel informed Congress, the action is legal, but J&J would handle things differently in the future.

The FDA maintains that it was unaware of the so-called "phantom recall" when it began. A spokesperson says "Any effort to suggest to the contrary is based on quoting documents selectively and out of context and ignores other evidence," according to CNN Money.

Separately, a J&J investor has filed suit against the company over alleged violations of securities laws in connection with the product recalls. 

- here's the Reuters story
- see the CNN Money coverage
- and here's the investor suit announcement