Troubled Tylenol plant to lay off 300 workers

By Parija Kavilanz, senior writer


NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- The drugmaking arm of Johnson & Johnson said late Thursday that it is laying off hundreds of workers at the manufacturing plant at the center of a recall of millions of units of children's Tylenol, Motrin and other over-the-counter drugs.

Johnson & Johnson's (JNJ, Fortune 500) McNeil Consumer Healthcare division said 300 of more than 400 positions at the Fort Washington, PA facility will be eliminated as the company conducts a complete quality overhaul at the facility.

McNeil halted all production at the Fort Washington plant in early May this year after it recalled about 135 million bottles of children's and infant's Motrin, Tylenol, Benadryl and Zyrtec drugs made at the plant, due to quality concerns. The facility is the company's only plant that makes its liquid pediatric non-prescription drugs.

McNeil is also currently under investigation by the Food and Drug Administration and lawmakers over a string of recalls of its products over the past year, including the latest recall of children's drugs.

McNeil, which submitted what it called its "comprehensive action plan on quality improvement" for the Fort Washington plant to the FDA on Thursday, also said it will make a "significant investment in re-fitting its Fort Washington manufacturing facility with new equipment, and will reorganize the plant's operations." As a result, the company anticipates that the plant will be out of service for a "protracted period of time."

The company said it is taking steps to expedite production of many of the products that were previously produced at Fort Washington by utilizing other Johnson & Johnson plants.

However, McNeil had previously announced that most of the products made at the Fort Washington plant will not be available in stores before the end of the year. To top of page

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