J&J ($JNJ), Takeda recall Velcade on particle fears

Johnson & Johnson ($JNJ) has been hit with another recall, but this time J&J wasn't the company overseeing production. The drug in question is Velcade, the blood cancer treatment, marketed outside the U.S. by a J&J unit; it's sold in the U.S. by Millennium, now a unit of Japan's Takeda Pharmaceuticals. Polyester-like particulates were found in vials from two batches of the drug, which was produced for Millennium by a contract manufacturer.

A Takeda spokesman told Bloomberg that the company is fixing a manufacturing problem linked to the particulates. In the meantime, six lots of Velcade were recalled in Europe and Japan because of the particles; another seven lots in the U.S. will be recalled as a "precaution." According to a Millennium spokeswoman, the company received five reports of particulates in the six European and Japanese lots, but no complaints from U.S. customers.

We've seen several particulate-related recalls in recent months: Baxter pulled Hylenex because glass particles were found in some containers. Hospira recalled propofol because of stainless-steel particles. Then there was the "floating matter" recall of several drugs made by India's Claris LifeSciences for customers such as Pfizer. Separately, of course, there were the repeated J&J recalls, mostly in its McNeil Consumer Healthcare division; the company is overhauling a problem plant in Pennsylvania to get many of those meds back onto the market.

- get the U.K. recall notice
- see the Reuters news
- get more from Bloomberg

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