Candymaker behind Rolaids recall

By Parija Kavilanz, senior writer


NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- A little more than a week after recalling millions of packages of its popular antacid medicine Rolaids, Johnson & Johnson identified the manufacturer of the products.

Johnson & Johnson spokesman Marc Boston confirmed to CNNMoney Friday that Mooresville, N.C.-based Best Sweet is the contract manufactuer of various softchew Rolaids medicines recalled after consumer complaints of foreign materials.

The Rolaids were recalled on Dec. 9 by Johnson &Johnson's (JNJ, Fortune 500) McNeil Consumer Healthcare division, which makes other over-the-counter drugs including Tylenol, Rolaids and Benadryl. McNeil said the Rolaids were made by a third-party manufacturer. At the time, both McNeil and the Food and Drug Administration declined to identify the company.

J&J's confirmation about Best Sweet followed a letter sent to the FDA on Friday by Rep. Darrell Issa, the Republican ranking member on the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, which is investigating McNeil's string of recalls this year of non-prescription drugs including Tylenol, Motrin and Benadryl.

In the letter sent to FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, Issa said that investigations conducted by his staff following the Rolaids recall identified Best Sweet as the maker of those medicines.

The FDA says it just received the letter on Friday and will reply directly to Issa.

On its web site, Best Sweet identifies itself as a manufacturer of both consumer healthcare and confectionery products, across a mix of contract, private label and branded products.

It's products also include Baskin-Robbins' "Smooth and Creamy Hard Candy," and Bee M.D. all-natural honey-based throat drops.

"We have an excellent safety track record. We are cooperating with all parties," a Best Sweet spokesperson told CNNMoney on Friday.

Lawmakers have already held two hearings into Johnson & Johnson's over-the-counter drug recalls and plant manufacturing violations.

In his letter, Issa said he's concerned that the "latest series of manufacturing violations with McNeil raises new questions regarding the relationship between McNeil and the FDA."

To that end, Issa has requested additional information from the FDA by Jan. 5.

Specifically, he has asked the agency to provide the dates and reasons for inspections of Best Sweet's manufacturing facilities by the FDA, including any warning letters issued to the company for gross violations.

Issa has also asked the agency to comment on whether it is concerned about the safety of other products made by Best Sweet. To top of page

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