J&J recalls more musty-smelling Tylenol

Another recall for the recall-plagued Johnson & Johnson: Its McNeil Consumer Healthcare unit added its 8-hour Tylenol product to the list of 11 pulled off store shelves in recent months. Like other adult drugs recalled by the company--such as the Tylenol Arthritis Pain bottles yanked off the market last November--this batch spawned complaints of a musty or moldy odor.

And like the other odor troubles, this one appears to be caused by a chemical known as 2,4,6-tribromoanisole, which is used as a preservative on wood pallets used for storage and shipping of drugs. Unlike the others, these were not made at the company's Puerto Rico plant, but at the Fort Washington, PA, facility that was shut down for refitting after the mammoth children's drug recall. That plant remains closed, and the company doesn't expect it to reopen until well into next year.

The latest recall affects 127,728 bottles, the Wall Street Journal reports. That's just a drop in the bucket, considering that the company has recalled more than 150 million units of OTC drugs. But it's another set of headlines for J&J, once considered a paragon of quality. CEO Bill Weldon has made the rounds to apologize and promise that the problems will be fixed in interviews with a host of media outlets and in a hearing before Congress. Can all those mea culpas outweigh continued blows to J&J's rep?

The company's latest quarterly report suggests that J&J may have a harder time regaining its image than it previously thought. As Bloomberg reports, the company missed analyst estimates for Q3 revenues as consumer products sales suffered more than expected. The company posted $15 billion in quarterly sales, rather than the $15.2 billion observers had predicted; McNeil's sales alone fell 11 percent. "Weak U.S. consumer sales--which came in $209 million below our estimates--could potentially signal some systemic damage to J&J's brand name in light of the recent McNeil recalls and negative publicity," Rick Wise, an analyst at Leerink Swann, said in a note to clients (as quoted by Bloomberg).

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