Tylenol Maker Admits To Selling Medicine Laced With Heavy Metals

by DailyHealthPost Editorial

contaminated tylenol

Drug manufacturer Johnson & Johnson closed a manufacturing plant in Fort Washington recently, while its subsidiary, McNeil, pleaded guilty to a criminal count in federal court. The plea was the result of metal particles being found in children’s liquid medicine that was manufactured by the McNeil Consumer Healthcare plant in Montgomery County.

McNeil agreed to pay a 25 million dollar settlement, based on a percentage of the sales of contaminated products between May 2009 and April 2010 – the time that contaminated products were in circulation. Trouble began for McNeil when a consumer reported finding “black specks” in the bottom of a bottle of Infant’s Tylenol. When the company examined the specks, they found a mix of nickel and chromium. Eventually, the problem was traced to a malfunctioning machine part in the plant.

contaminated tylenol


McNeil’s Fort Washington plant will remain closed until it is brought into compliance and gets clearance from the US Food and Drug Administration. There are several other McNeil facilities which remain open in the United States, but are currently operating under a permanent injunction dating back to 2011.

Just The Latest Problem For J&J

Hundreds of Johnson & Johnson brands have been subject to recall since 2008, including Tylenol, Motrin, Rolaids, Benadryl and other commonly used over-the-counter medications. In 2010, Johnson & Johnson’s sales fell by over 19 percent – a decrease largely caused by a rash of consumer medicine recalls the year before. This has been the largest drop in sales for the company since World War Two.

Damaged Trust

While Johnson & Johnson has reported that there were no injuries caused by this episode, many people remain sceptical of the company, especially after so many recall scandals.

Parents in particular remain wary after this recent incident, which affected Infant’s Tylenol specifically. And other product recalls haven’t gone as smoothly for the major corporation – it is currently facing lawsuits of hip and vaginal mesh implants, which injured thousands of individuals.

Johnson & Johnson’s reputation has been further damaged by a 2013 marketing scandal which resulted in the company paying 2.2 billion to the federal government following illegal promotion of several drugs, including anti-psychotics such as Risperdal and Invega.

With such a checkered past, it’s easy to see why consumers have little faith in this major corporation anymore.



  • https://www.reuters.com/article/2015/03/10/us-johnson-johnson-tylenol-idUSKBN0M629S20150310
  • https://www.marketwatch.com/story/jjs-mcneil-to-pay-25-million-to-settle-probe-after-recalls-2015-03- 10-17103126
  • https://articles.philly.com/2015-03-12/business/60013328_1_tylenol-plea-agreement-mcneil-consumer-healthcare
  • https://www.drugwatch.com/manufacturer/johnson-and-johnson/