What''s going on here? Hopefully, today Congress will start to find out when it holds a hearing on the Johnson & Johnson recall, where among other things the company will be asked whether it had reduced its quality control staff at its McNeil Consumer Healthcare unit. According to the New York Times, McNeil's recent problems there have included “failure to investigate and take corrective action on consumer complaints regarding particle contamination in a drug, unclean equipment at the plant, failure to train employees in good manufacturing practices, and bacterial contamination of a drug ingredient.” Moreover, “McNeil shut down the plant after the inspection and recalled the liquid children’s products.”
Back to Perrigo. This company, says the FDA, shipped ibuprofen “contaminated with metal shavings.” What’s more, “In an earlier incident in 2006, Perrigo recalled about 11 million bottles of acetaminophen because it found metal particles, ranging from a speck to 8-millimeter pieces of wire, in some caplets.”
Which brings us back to Perrigo’s home base – Michigan. When people ask “why are U.S. plants violating U.S. manufacturing standards?” we are reminded of Michigan’s way-too cushy relationship with the pharmaceutical industry. As we’ve blogged many times before (here, here, here), Michigan is the only state in the nation that has made it impossible for its own residents to sue drug companies over FDA-regulated drugs that harm them. Drug companies are immune there, no matter how many people are injured or killed. Efforts to repeal this egregious law remain stalled.