300 Laid Off at Tylenol Plant that Made Recalled DrugsJul 16, 2010 | Parker Waichman LLP
Johnson & Johnson’s McNeil Consumer Healthcare unit will be eliminating 300 of 400 jobs at the Fort Washington, PA manufacturing facility that made Tylenol and other over-the-counter drugs that were recalled earlier this year. The plant has been closed since April 30, and could remain closed well into next year, McNeil said.
That April 30 recall included more than 40 varieties of Tylenol Infant Drops, Children’s Tylenol Suspensions, Children’s Tylenol Plus Suspensions, Motrin Infant Drops, Children’s Motrin Suspensions, Children’s Zyrtec Liquid in Bottles, and Children’s Benadryl Allergy Liquid. At the time, the company said some drugs might contain a higher concentration of active ingredient than is specified; others may contain inactive ingredients that may not meet internal testing requirements; and others may contain tiny particles.
That recall was just one of six McNeil has issued for its cold and pain relief products over the past year.
In April, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) cited more than 20 manufacturing problems at the Fort Washington facility, including not properly testing for contamination of the recalled products. The problems prompted the FDA to widen its investigation of McNeil’s manufacturing practices, and it is now inspecting the company’s other facilities in Lancaster, PA and Puerto Rico. Officials from the agency have also said they were considering possible criminal charges against Johnson & Johnson and McNeil.
In a statement released yesterday, McNeil said it has submitted to the FDA its plan for addressing the violations. The company said it would be making a “significant investment” in the plant, which will include installing new equipment and redoing operations there. An outside expert has also been hired to help upgrade the plant. While all this is happening, the plant will be closed for a protracted period of time.
The company said it would continue to give laid off employees regular pay and benefits through at least mid-September. A severance package will be provided, and some employees may be rehired once the facility reopens.