HEALTH

Congressional committee investigates J&J’s Motrin ‘phantom’ recall

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON Rep. Ed Towns, D-N.Y., on Thursday announced that the Committee on Government Oversight and Government Reform, which he chairs, has begun querying contracting companies on whether they were hired by Johnson & Johnson in late 2008 to execute a “phantom” recall of a certain SKU of Motrin available primarily through the convenience channel.

“Rather than doing the right thing and announcing a recall, we have learned that the drug company hired contractors to basically sneak into stores to purchase the products as if they were legitimate customers,” stated Towns.  “We need to better understand Johnson & Johnson’s relationship with the contractor and get to the bottom of the services the contractor was asked to provide.”

Towns had addressed the Motrin recall with Colleen Goggins, J&J worldwide chairman, consumer group, during last week’s hearing. Goggins testified that she did not know the specific language of the contract between J&J and the contractor, but that the Food and Drug Administration had knowledge of J&J’s particular actions in this situation at the time the contract was being executed.

The committee is examining an alleged attempt by J&J, parent company of McNeil Consumer Healthcare, to hire a contractor to go into retail stores and secretly purchase the suspect Motrin in order to avoid issuing a formal recall. Only when the FDA discovered this covert activity did J&J announce a recall of the affected medication, Towns asserted. “It wasn’t until this caper was foiled by the Food and Drug Administration that McNeil did what it should have done in the first place and recalled the affected medication,” Towns said. “The company’s motivation was apparently to save itself the embarrassment and potential financial loss associated with a recall.”

According to a document obtained by the Committee, WIS of San Diego was recruited by Carolina Supply Chain Services, now a division of Inmar, “on behalf of Johnson & Johnson” to purchase the affected Motrin.

Chairman Towns sent formal requests for information to WIS and Inmar today about their relationship with J&J, and asked for details on their alleged role in the phantom recall. The chairman also asked for the amount of Motrin that was purchased and what was done with those packages.

The committee learned of the phantom recall while investigating the recent recall of over-the-counter Johnson & Johnson/McNeil pediatric products, Towns said. This week, the chairman expanded that investigation to include the issue of Johnson & Johnson’s phantom recall of Motrin.

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HEALTH

Lansinoh gives e-newsletter a makeover

BY Michael Johnsen

ALEXANDRIA, Va. Lansinoh on Thursday launched its newly redesigned Nurture Notes, an e-newsletter dedicated to breastfeeding mothers.

Written as a resource for expectant and new moms, Nurture Notes are designed to answer some of the concerns or questions mothers may have when preparing for their baby’s arrival, especially related to breastfeeding.

“As natural as breastfeeding is, it does not always come naturally and moms can encounter challenges,” stated Gina Ciagne, certified lactation counselor and the director of breastfeeding and consumer relations for Lansinoh. “As many of us are either current or former breastfeeding and pumping moms, we know firsthand the roadblocks that moms can encounter on the road to breastfeeding both while pregnant and in the first days and months of motherhood. Nurture Notes can be her roadmap around these obstacles. When the going gets tough, they can turn to Nurture Notes for specifically timed tips, support, and resources.”

With a fresh, contemporary look, Nurture Notes features a helpful message commensurate with a particular week of pregnancy or the age of the baby, a Quick Tip, a Did You Know? section with a fact about breastfeeding, and a breastfeeding video, checklist, or product spotlight. They also are integrated with other sources of breastfeeding news and information, including the Lansinoh sponsored breastfeeding blog, ByMomsForMoms.net, Gina’s Twitter handle, @GinaAtLansinoh, and the Lansinoh Facebook Fan Page. Lansinoh is committed to ensuring Nurture Notes include valuable, timely information that moms can rely on and trust.

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Lil’ Drug Store Products names new leadership team

BY Michael Johnsen

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa Lil’ Drug Store Products on Wednesday named a new leadership team, promoting three retailing professionals across its convenience division. Doug Steffen has been named senior director of national accounts; Greg Moore, senior director of convenience sales; and April Elsinger, director of convenience marketing.

Steffen, Moore and Elsinger each have several years of high-profile sales and markting expertise with Lil’ Drug Store Products, the company stated.  The team will work together to expand the company’s convenience retailing position. Lil’ Drug Store Products’ convenience division offers more than 250 on-the-go health and beauty, general merchandise and automotive accessories sold in more than 125,000 convenience and hospitality retailer locations throughout the United States.

“This new leadership team reflects our dedication to the convenience industry,” stated Paul Rossberger, VP convenience sales and marketing. “It’s summed up in a simple, powerful statement: ‘We Make Convenience Convenient.’ For 35 years our company has made it easy for retailers to supply and merchandise their stores. Now we’re sharpening the focus of that commitment by adding innovative new product categories, providing even more resources for full customer support, and exceeding our retailer partners’ performance goals.”

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