Congress: FDA should probe J&J contract plant

Congressional investigators want the FDA to broaden its probe of Johnson & Johnson's ($JNJ) manufacturing to include contract manufacturers as well as company facilities. The company's latest recall involved products made by a third-party plant, and Rep. Darrell Issa, ranking Republican on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, wants FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg to follow that trail.

Issa's staff tracked J&J's latest recalled products--13 million packages of Rolaids that may have been contaminated with wood or metal particles--to BestSweet, a North Carolina candy maker and chewable-drugs manufacturer. So, Issa has demanded the FDA's inspection records for the plant and raised questions about BestSweet's other products in light of the Rolaids snafu.

"We have an excellent safety track record," Rhonda Barnat, a spokeswoman for BestSweet, told Bloomberg. "We are cooperating with all parties." In fact, the company has hosted FDA inspectors seven times since 2000, and the most recent inspection in October of last year was clean.

This is only Issa's latest letter related to the J&J recall. He and committee Chair Edolphus Towns have been hammering the FDA for information and testimony about its handling of J&J's repeated recalls, and they have put J&J executives on the hot seat as well. Meanwhile, the FDA's criminal division and the Justice Department continue to investigate.

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ALSO: Johnson & Johnson must pay $52 million in damages and penalties after a Pennsylvania judge found the pharmaceutical company falsely reported the prices of its drugs. Report

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