Perhaps there is a strategy at work here. Once again, Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) has issued a product recall. In the scheme of things, this is a very modest one -- exactly one lot of Tylenol 8-Hour Extended Release Caplets, which amounts to 34,000 bottles, according to a statement the healthcare giant issued March 29.
Given the overwhelming number of recalls over the past year -- tens of millions of products, including over-the-counter meds, hip replacement devices, syringes and contact lenses, among others -- perhaps the J&J team has figured out that the public, investors and consumers alike have all tired of hearing about such things and will start ignoring the ongoing problems. Of course, J&J is obligated in some ways to release such info. But the events have become so routine, maybe the J&J execs hope no one will take notice anymore?
In any event, the latest recall is due to a familiar problem: Consumer complaints were received about a musty or moldy odor that is believed to be due to trace amounts of a chemical called 2,4,6-tribromoanisole, or TBA, a chemical used in wooden pallets that transport and store packaging materials. The problem has plagued J&J and Pfizer (PFE) for some time (see here and here).
The lot was made at the McNeil Consumer Healthcare plant in Fort Washington, PA, before it was closed last April for a series of manufacturing gaffes and is now being retooled and under careful watch as part of a consent decree (see here, here and here).