Johnson & Johnson has recalled all Tylenol Arthritis Pain Caplet 100-count bottles, an extension of an earlier five-lot recall in November. With some Tylenol Arthritis users complaining of nausea and stomach pain following use of the product, customers reported a “moldy” smell coming from the capsules. Researchers have linked the odor to 2,4,6-tribromoanisole, a chemical that is produced when fungi break down a fungicide called 2,4,6-tribromophenol.
A 1980s Tylenol recall by J&J is often held up as an industry gold standard in crisis management. In 1982, the company recalled all bottles of extra-strength Tylenol when seven individuals were reported dead after taking cyanide-infected pills. The deaths were discovered to be the result of tampering, in which bottles were removed from retail shelves, infected with cyanide, and then returned.
Though J&J was not directly responsible for the deaths, the company launched an immediate campaign, removing all bottles from national retailers and halting all advertisement for the product. The result was an estimated $100 million loss to J&J.
When the product was re-introduced, the bottles came with a triple-seal protection cap and J&J was the first company to comply with an FDA mandate for tamper-resistant packaging.