Johnson & Johnson's recall scandal has surfaced again. The state of Oregon has sued J&J over that so-called "phantom" recall of faulty Motrin tablets, saying that the company's delay in starting an official recall put consumers at risk. As Reuters reports, Oregon Attorney General John Kroger alleges that J&J put its fear of publicity ahead of consumers' interests.
Kroger is referring to an episode that began in early 2009 when J&J hired private contractors to buy up stocks of suspect Motrin from convenience stores and gas stations. The company didn't announce an official recall until February 2010, a few months before the massive children's drug recall that trained a spotlight on J&J's product quality. The Motrin recall became an issue during public hearings about J&J's handling of its manufacturing problems and FDA's response to them, and it drew criticism from FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg.
"Part of our goal here is not just to hold Johnson & Johnson accountable, but to send a very strong message that if you have a defective health product, you cannot do a phantom recall," Kroger told Reuters. "The thing that's scary is that, if a company does a successful phantom recall, no one knows about it."
J&J spokeswoman Bonnie Jacobs said the Motrin recall in question didn't pose any health or safety risk to consumers and that the company's actions were "consistent with applicable law." The company will respond to Kroger's suit by requesting that it be dismissed.