J&J homes in on flu med's return to stores

Dare we say Johnson & Johnson ($JNJ) is showing signs of an ascent from recall hell? After pulling many products off shelves over the past two years, the healthcare products giant has signaled that Tylenol Cold & Flu Severe caplets are on their way back to stores. The Wall Street Journal broke the news yesterday that shipments of the flu med had begun.

Production of the caplets has moved to a facility in Latina, Italy, and, with shipping under way, the product is due to land on shelves in the coming weeks, the WSJ reported, grabbing the news from an internal company document. A spokeswoman for J&J wouldn't confirm the location of the production with the Associated Press, but she did confirm that the adult flu med was on its way back to shelves.

Even a small victory like this could be a welcome reprieve for J&J. Over the past couple years, the company has been saddled with the recalls of several big over-the-counter brands such as Benadryl and Sudafed as well as multiple prescription meds and other health products. A range of problems, including musty-smelling drugs and traces of metals in products, have triggered the recalls. And industry watchers have spent a lot of time following the FDA scrutiny, hurt sales, corporate turmoil and other side effects of the company's product woes. 

Grape-flavored children's Tylenol has also reappeared on the market after being recalled, according to the AP report, and investors have been told of more product returns in the offing. Yet analysts are expecting the company's sales numbers to suffer again this year because of the recalls, another reminder that the company hasn't fully recovered from its recall bug.

- see the WSJ's report (sub. req.)
- and the AP article