Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) recalled 104 batches of surgical sutures late last year, after discovering a packaging problem that can render them unsterilized.
It’s the latest in a string of damaging recalls that cost the new Brunswick, N.J.-based medical products conglomerate an estimated $900 million last year.
The company’s Ethicon Inc. division sent out a warning in late December, 2010, in the United Kingdom that it was pulling 104 batches of its Ethilon, Ethibond, Mersilene and Mersilk sutures. Information on the recall hit the Internet today via the U.K.’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency.
"The unit pack in the affected products may not have a complete seal and so the contents may not be sterile," according to the MHRA website.
"This action is being taken as a result of a potential defect in the packaging of selected batches of these products produced during the September 2010 to December 2010 timeframe," according to the Dec. 29, 2010, warning letter from Ethicon (PDF). "This packaging defect could compromise the integrity of the primary seal on product packaging … and we therefore cannot assure sterility of these products."
It’s the latest in a veritable plethora of recalls for J&J and its family of subsidiaries. Last month Ethicon Inc. issued a recall of 700,000 units of a liquid wound sealant and a hernia-treatment device, a day after pulling 70,000 syringes pre-filled with Invega Sustenna, an anti-psychotic drug, due to possible cracks.
J&J also suffered a welter of recalls for its over-the-counter medicine operation and its DePuy ASR hip implant, giving its bottom line a bruising during its most recent fiscal quarter.
Here’s a rundown of Johnson & Johnson recalls going back to 2009, compiled by the Wall Street Journal‘s Health Blog:
- March 2011: Ethicon pulls 104 batches of surgical sutures
- February 2011: J&J recalls more than 667,000 Sudafed packages after a discovering a double-negative typo on the label ("do not not divide, crush, chew, or dissolve the tablet")
- February 2011: J&J pulls at least 395 injection pens preloaded with rheumatoid-arthritis drug Simponi because they may not deliver a full dose of the drug
- February 2011: Ethicon pulls 700,000 vials of a liquid wound sealant and a hernia-treatment product
- February 2011: J&J recalls 70,000 syringes preloaded with its Invega injectable anti-psychotic drug over cracks found in the syringes
- January 2011: J&J pulls 43 million bottles of Tylenol, Benadryl, Sinutab and Sudafed made at its Ft. Washington, Pa., plant while equipment there may not have been properly cleaned and yanks almost 4 million units of Rolaids due to a labeling problem
- December 2010: The company recalls all lots of Rolaids Extra Strength Softchews, Rolaids Extra Strength Plus Gas Softchews and Rolaids Multi-Symptom Plus Anti-Gas Softchews following consumer reports of foreign-particle contamination
- December 2010: J&J recalls a dozen different Mylanta liquid products and one AlternaGEL product because they were mislabeled to omit the presence of small amount of alcohol and widened a recall of daily-use contact lenses in Japan and elsewhere due to traces of an acid that can cause stinging
- November 2010: The company recalls three Tylenol Cold Multi-Symptom products, also due to an alcohol labeling issue
- November 2010: The company recalls children’s Benadryl and Motrin products
- October 2010: A recall of 127,000 bottles of Tylenol 8-Hour caplets due to a musty odor.
- August 2010: J&J’s DePuy Orthopedics unit pulls two hip implants off the market because of an unusually high rate of replacement surgeries
- August 2010: A recall — recently widened — of about 100,000 boxes of 1-Day Acuvue TruEye contact lenses
- July 2010: Some OTC medicines are pulled, including varieties of Benadryl, Tylenol and Motrin, in a follow-up to a recall of musty-smelling products made at a plant in Puerto Rico
- June 2010: The company widens the recall of drugs made at the Puerto Rican plant
- May 2010: The largest batch of children’s medicines are pulled
- December 2009: Recalls of Tylenol Arthritis Pain Caplets due to that musty odor issue
- July 2009: J&J officially recalls batches of Motrin, but has come under fire for an earlier so-called "phantom recall" of the product