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May 04, 2010

Makers of Tylenol, I'm Disappointed in You

Children's Liquid Tylenol Hopefully, by now you've heard about the recall of children's liquid medicines: Tylenol, Motrin, Zyrtec, and Benadryl--all made by McNeil Consumer Health Care. Over 40 products that are sold in over 13 countries (including the US). It's not just certain lots, but basically all the non-expired of these over the counter medicines.

Well, I just have to say, makers of Tylenol, I'm disappointed in you.

I understand that McNeil Consumer Health Care did not have to recall these children's medicine. Why were they recalled? According to the FDA news release:

Some of the products included in the recall may contain a higher concentration of active ingredient than specified; others contain inactive ingredients that may not meet internal testing requirements; and others may contain tiny particles.

Of course the press release continues on to say:

While the potential for serious medical events is remote, FDA advises consumers who have purchased these recalled products to discontinue use.

It's not really dangerous but don't consume them, just in case. That's what that sentence tells me. Kind of like a disclaimer just in case anyone decides to sue.

When our pediatrician recommends a fever reducer/pain reliever for my young kids, they recommend Tylenol, not acetaminophen (the generic name for the drug). I've grown up trusting the name Tylenol, which I'm sure many of you have also. With our first child, we chose to purchase the name brand because of that trust. That is until other baby needs (like diapers) hit our budget, and we went generic instead.

Fast forward to when our daughter grew old enough to have an opinion about her medicines, or rather how they tasted. Like both her parents, she is plagued by seasonal allergies. Last spring the pediatrician prescribed over the counter children's liquid Zyrtec. They don't rid her symptoms altogether, just make her less miserable.

Of course we tried the generic version with her. Grape flavored from Target. I can't even remember what other flavored generics from other stores. The only one she would drink without cajoling, bribing, pleading, or threatening was the name brand version. Good ol' bubble gum flavor. (Hint to generic drug makers, make your stuff taste better!). I gladly pay the extra $3-5 to for the name brand version of it.

Now I have to go back to a generic version as well as beg and bribe my kid to take her allergy medicine. No fun for any parent who has kids who won't take their medicines. Since I have no idea when a safe version will be available.

What really bothered me about this recall is that it was voluntary. McNeil Consumer Health Care didn't have to do anything about it. Yes, I think it's very responsible of them to recall the products. However, there shouldn't have been a need for the recall in the first place.

This isn't the first recall of liquid suspension Tylenol. The company is a well known name that many people trust. They spend a lot of money on advertising to ensure we continue to trust them. However, are they spending enough money on quality checks on their products? How long did they know about the defective products before issuing the recall? Could the FDA have been involved sooner? Do we need to re-evaluate how our children's (and ours) over the counter medicines are quality controlled?

All I know is that when I purchase a name brand product like Tylenol or Zyrtec, I don't want to worry if it'll be recalled in the near future.

For more information about the recall, see what products are included and how to request a refund or replacement, visit the recall website.

An original DC Metro Moms post.

When Thien-Kim isn't begging and bribing her preschooler to take her allergy medicine, she also blogs at I'm Not the Nanny and Cup of Creativi-Tea.

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