J&J CEO: McNeil’s Practices Improved since Plant Shutdown

On behalf of Brown & Crouppen, P.C. posted in Defective Medications on Wednesday, May 4, 2011

McNeil Consumer Healthcare, which has faced a series of embarrassing recalls of its over-the-counter medications over the past 18 months, is undergoing an overhaul of its safety practices and will “come back stronger than ever,” according to the CEO of Johnson & Johnson, McNeil’s parent company. He made the comments during a speech at J&J’s annual shareholder meeting on April 28 that was posted on the company’s Web site.

The speech referred to problems McNeil has faced with a range of drugs, such as Tylenol, Benadryl and Zyrtec. An April 2010 recall of 136 million over the counter medications for infants and children led to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration shutting down the company’s plant in Fort Washington, Pennsylvania. The FDA said it found problems with cleanliness and other issues at the plant, and ordered McNeil to come up with a plan of action to address the problems before allowing the plant to reopen.

In his speech, the CEO accepted responsibility for the problems at the McNeil plant. He said that the company’s action plan includes a $100 million renovation of the plant, which is underway, as well as changes at the corporate level. For example, McNeil has a new vice president of quality assurance and vice president of operations, and the Fort Washington plant has hired a new manager. Around 3,000 employees at Fort Washington and McNeil’s other manufacturing sites will receive enhanced training, the CEO said. It remains to be seen if these changes will restore McNeil’s reputation to skeptical consumers, as the CEO predicted they would.

Source: Montgomery News, “McNeil’s Fort Washington plant undergoing $100 million renovation,” Thomas Celona, May 03, 2011

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