Labeling foul-up involving acetaminophen leads RB to recall 135 lots of Mucinex

The back labels of some bottles of Mucinex cold medicines may not show they contain acetaminophen and other active ingredients, leading U.K.-based Reckitt Benckiser to recall of 135 lots of the popular product in the U.S.

Reckitt, now known as RB, is voluntarily recalling 6 different types, amounting to 1.5 million units of the product, after a retailer discovered that the label on the back of a bottle didn't correspond with the label on the front, the company said in a press release Tuesday.

"This mislabeling could cause the consumer to be unaware of side effects and/or risks associated with the ingestion of certain product ingredients which include Acetaminophen, Dextromethorphan, Guaifenesin, Phenylephrine and/or Diphenhydramine," the company said.

RB spokeswoman Lynn Kenney told Bloomberg that of the product it has in hand, less than 1% has the wrong label. "Even though there appears to be a very small number of affected units, we have instigated a full voluntary recall of all potentially impacted products," she said.

Acetaminophen, a nonaspirin pain reliever, is found in more than 600 over-the-counter products. While effective in proper doses, too much can cause liver failure. People with liver problems must be particularly careful about taking it, leading drug authorities to be alert to situations where overdoses might occur.

GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK) last year voluntarily recalled four lots in Puerto Rico of its Panadol Advance product containing acetaminophen because the bottles didn't have child-resistant packaging to protect against overdoses. And Johnson & Johnson ($JNJ) ran into issues in South Korea after authorities learned that a J&J Janssen unit continued to sell Children's Tylenol that may have contained more than the labeled amounts of acetaminophen after a filling issue at the plant. An executive of the company there was even criminally charged.

- here's the press release
- read the Bloomberg story

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