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Company admits guilt in contaminated Tylenol for children

Parents in Colorado expect manufacturers of children's medicine to adhere to quality control protocols during manufacturing. The guilty plea given by McNeil Consumer Healthcare in federal court regarding contaminated liquid Tylenol and Motrin for infants and children illustrates how a company might make mistakes manufacturing its products.

According to details that emerged in federal court, a consumer complaint about black specks in Infants' liquid Tylenol reached McNeil Consumer Healthcare in May 2009. The company then identified the problem as particles of metals such as nickel, chromium and iron becoming introduced into the medicine during manufacturing. It continued to make the medicine for months without fixing the machinery behind the problem.

The acting assistant attorney general for the United States said the Department of Justice planned to aggressively monitor companies for this troubling lack of attendance to product safety. McNeil Consumer Healthcare, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, agreed to $25 million in fines. The company is currently operating under increased Food and Drug Administration oversight and inspections. No injuries were attributed to the contaminated medicine.

Product liability laws are the means by which government regulators and consumers can hold companies accountable for the safety of their products. If a dangerous product injures or kills a person and if it can be shown that the company was responsible for the hazard, then a lawsuit might succeed in recovering damages. A consultation with an attorney might help an injured person determine if a product liability lawsuit has potential to succeed.

Source: ABC News, "Maker of Kids' Tylenol Pleads Guilty Over Metal Particles," Michael Rubinkam and Maryclaire Dale, March 10, 2015

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