the big recall

I’m still trying to figure out just why, this week, McNeil Consumer Healthcare recalled basically every medication our kids ever take. They say it was due to manufacturing deficiencies that “may affect the potency, purity or quality of the products.” The latest vague revelations say that the medicines were recalled because of “dusty incubators” and/or “tiny metal specks” floating in the Cherry Blast Flavor goodness.

Let me be clear: I’m glad they recalled the stuff—better that then wait till “only” a dozen children get sick, or something, which seems to be what usually happens.  Still, I was a little miffed to throw away our Children’s Tylenol—still in its box—and a little more miffed to throw away the half-used Benadryl, which until two days ago seemed fine, and maybe still is, but now I’m out eight bucks. Worse still is the idea that I used half of it before being told there might be something ill-defined and terribly wrong with it.  I didn’t see any dark specks in the Benadryl. But I’d rather not find out the hard way that I was wrong. 

My pediatrician says the generic formulations of these medicines are okay to use, but I don’t buy it. Aren’t they all really made in the same place, just like all Chinese restaurants are rumored to be served by one vast, underground kitchen?

You can visit McNeil’s website here for a list of recalled medicines, but I’ll break it down for you: if you have infants’ or children’s liquid Tylenol, Motrin, Benadryl, or Zyrtec on your shelves, toss it.  (If you want a refund, actually, don’t toss it- go to that same site for instructions. Too late for me.) Whatever you do, don’t give your kids tiny doses of the adult versions, either—that’s more likely to be dangerous than the medicines you just threw out. Until we hear they’re safe to buy again, I guess we all just have to hope none of our kids get sick.

Is that God laughing? 

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Anonymous May 5, 2010 at 4:56 pm

No, they aren't all made in the same place. Generic drugs are made by DIFFERENT drug manufacturers than brand name drugs. The brand name manufacturer is trying to get you to cling loyally to the name you are used to. The generic manufacturer uses the same ingredients (since the patent has expired, that is when generic drugs can be sold), and sells the drug for less. So not from the same company or manufacturing facility.


Kelly B. May 5, 2010 at 7:36 pm

Yeah.. I'm miffed about throwing away new bottles. It's technically their fault. I understand they wouldn't want to offer up refunds that would make them lose even more money, but some sort of discount would be nice. I've already thrown my away too, without even checking if a local store would trade/refund/or something.

If I find the generic stuff works just as fine, I won't mind switching and saving a few bucks.


Roxane B. Salonen May 6, 2010 at 3:25 am

Hey Amy, how are you keeping up with all of this while you are on your world tour? 🙂 I so enjoyed featuring you on my blog today — thanks so much for taking the time. I hope you're having a wonderful trip. Soon enough, you'll be home and dealing with recalls and virus outbreaks and other worrisome aspects of motherhood. Enjoy! 🙂


Willow Pest May 6, 2010 at 3:15 pm

I was able to take all of my unopened bottles back to Sam's Club and Walgreens on Sunday- this is in Indianapolis. No receipt, no problem…they gave me full refunds in the form of store credit. There was no way I was just going to throw these out.


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