If you think adult meds are bad, you should see what they're trying to force on your children and grandchildren.
Some of the nation's most common over-the-counter children's drugs – meds you might find in any home with a kid – have been recalled for problems ranging from contamination to quality.
All told, Johnson & Johnson's McNeil Pharmaceuticals pulled some 40 meds, including Children's Tylenol, Children's Motrin and Children's Benadryl. In many homes with children, that's half the medicine chest!
In a 17-page report, the Food and Drug Administration detailed some of the problems with these dirty drugs. It's a frightening list:
- "Tiny particles" in the medicine, including bits of metal;
- Bacterial contamination;
- Security lapses at the Fort Washington, Pennsylvania, plant where the drugs are made;
- Inadequate training; and
- No written procedures to ensure "the identity, strength, quality, and purity" of the meds.
It might have been easier to simply list what wasn't wrong!
In one of the most bizarre public statements in the history of corporate America, the company actually agreed with many of the FDA's accusations.
"The quality issues that the FDA has observed, many of which we had recently identified in our own quality reviews and communicated to the FDA, are unacceptable to us," the company said.
That's a little like a bank robber who, on getting caught, says he just noticed he had been stealing and found it to be unacceptable. In fact, he was just about to turn himself in.
Of course, they had to take a different approach since they can't claim they had no idea. The FDA says the company received at least 46 complaints from consumers who said they found particles in their children's meds… and did nothing.
But there's a positive side to this crisis, because it's a chance for parents to look at the alternatives. Like adults, many kids are often taking drugs they don't need – especially these over-the-counter remedies. Many parents reach for the Tylenol or Motrin any time they spot a fever in their child, but these days even mainstream docs will tell you that it's the wrong approach – especially for non-threatening low-grade fevers with no other symptoms.
Fevers can be caused by any number of factors, and aren't an automatic sign of illness. Many fevers are of no concern, especially if your child is acting normally.
And in some cases, the fever is the body's response to invading bacteria and viruses, many of which can be wiped out by the internal temperature change. Drop the fever, though, and you can give those microscopic invaders a chance to regroup and multiply.
As always, talk to your pediatrician before you start or stop any medicine – but in most cases, you'll do better with home remedies and a little common sense than you would with any of these meds.
Especially the ones they're telling you to throw in the trash.