Moldy odors strike Johnson & Johnson ($JNJ) once again. The company has recalled 57,000 bottles of the epilepsy drug Topamax after four consumers complained about the smell. It's yet another in a long series of recalls by J&J, this time announced by the Ortho-McNeil-Janssen Pharmaceuticals unit.
It's also just the latest of the recalls attributed to TBA (2,4,6 tribromoanisole), a chemical byproduct of a wood preservative used on shipping pallets. The company has pulled thousands of bottles of over-the-counter drugs because of musty odors, including Tylenol and Benadryl products made at a plant in Las Piedras, Puerto Rico that is now operating under an FDA consent decree. The smelly Topamax was also made in Puerto Rico, but at a different plant in Gurabo.
The company expects only 6,000 bottles of the suspect Topamax are still on the market. Officials also said that TBA isn't toxic, and it's unlikely to cause health problems. Previous previous pallet-related recalls were prompted by consumer reports of gastointestinal illness, but no Topamax users have reported symptoms related to the musty bottles.