Johnson & Johnson-Merck Consumer Pharmaceuticals, a 50/50 joint venture, is recalling 12 million bottles of Mylanta and almost 85,000 bottles of its Alternagel because of the label issue. There's no mention on the products that they contain a small amount of alcohol from the flavoring agents. Certain flavoring agents, J&J explains, contribute small amounts of alcohol to the medicine. The amount of alcohol is less than 1% of the product.
While this is a wholesale and retail level recall, it is not due to adverse events, the company said. Consumers can continue to use the products.
The recalls, which were also the subject of two Senate investigations, have tarnished the company's reputation and hurt its financial results: Sales in its consumer health care unit declined a whopping 25% in the last quarter. But things haven't improved.
Just last week, the health care giant recalled about 4 million packages of Children's Benadryl allergy tablets and some 800,000 bottles of Junior Strength Motrin, after manufacturing problems were revealed in the internal review. A day later, J&J said it is recalling nearly 9.3 million bottles of of three Tylenol Cold Multi-Symptom liquid products in order to update the product labeling.
There were smaller recalls along the way, as well as a wide recall of the company's 1 Day Acuvue TruEye contact lenses in Japan, a recall of the company's cancer drug Velcade and a hip implant recall.
As the product review goes on, there may be more recalls, even though the company just started shipping some of the long-absent products. Last month, the company began shipping its children's products again, but some analysts have questioned whether parents will have the same level of trust as before.