This year's recall of certain types of Tylenol and Motrin by Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ), which began in January, brought back memories of the 1982 Tylenol recall. It affected as many as 21 million packages which were in circulation at the time. Johnson & Johnson's reaction set the bar for other companies. It did not spare any expense to protect the public from what turned out to be a tiny number of tainted products.
Recalls are commonplace now. And, they are not just for drugs. Recent incidents include children's beds and toys with high lead content. However, it is still the huge recalls of prescription drugs that garner the most headlines because they often harm the largest numbers of people. These recalls can also cost large pharmaceutical companies billions of dollars.