Attorney General announces $33M settlement with Johnson & Johnson

CHARLESTON, WV (NEWS RELEASE) — West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, in coordination with 42 other attorneys general, reached a $33 million settlement with Johnson & Johnson subsidiary McNeil-PPC Inc. regarding representation of product quality.

West Virginia’s share will exceed $440,000. The settlement resolves allegations that McNeil unlawfully promoted its over-the-counter drugs as meeting federal standards for manufacturing.

“We will always hold companies accountable for unlawful actions that may jeopardize patient safety,” Attorney General Morrisey said. “It’s critical that companies meet good manufacturing practices and protect product quality.”

The states allege McNeil violated consumer protection laws by misrepresenting its compliance with manufacturing standards and quality of the drugs produced. Other allegations involved touting medications as effective when the drugs were not viable.

Certain batches of common over-the-counter drugs produced by McNeil — including Tylenol, Motrin, Benadryl, St. Joseph Aspirin, Sudafed, Pepcid, Mylanta, Rolaids, Zyrtec and Zyrtec Eye Drops — were deemed tainted due to quality control lapses. Some of these drugs were recalled three times between 2009 and 2010.

The settlement prohibits McNeil from stating its facilities meet federal standards within 12 months of a recall. It also requires McNeil to follow standard operating procedures when manufacturing mishaps occur and promptly notify state attorneys general when recalled drugs are shipped into their state.

West Virginia participated in the Pennsylvania- and Texas-led settlement with Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.

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