As if Johnson & Johnson did not have enough problems stemming from the recall of its products manufactured by McNeil Consumer Healthcare, they are now facing a lawsuit over the refunds they have offered to placate consumers. The refunds offered are not adequate, according to a suit filed last month in federal court in Philadelphia by three plaintiffs. The suit is seeking class action status to include anyone who purchased J&J children's medicines from at least December 2008, to the present.
According to the Dow Jones Newswires, the suit claims that only "select consumers" who purchased the recalled children's Tylenol, Motrin, Benadryl and Zyrtec are receiving a refund or a coupon for a free replacement when the product becomes available again. The complaint claims that such a coupon is worthless to consumers as McNeil is currently not manufacturing such drugs and there are no guarantees that consumers would even want to purchase a McNeil product at "some uncertain future date." The suit seeks cash refunds, and that these should be offered to more people than those eligible under the current program.
At this time, only customers who can provide the numbers listed on the product they purchased may apply for a refund or coupon. The Dow Jones Newswires write that Donald Haviland, attorney for the plaintiffs, said the refunds also should be extended to people who bought McNeil products but had already disposed of the bottles at the time of the recall.
"People paid cash," said Haviland. "They didn't get what they paid for. They should get their cash back." Mr. Haviland's wife is one of the three named plaintiffs in the suit.
Spokesmen and a spokeswoman for J&J and its McNeil McNeil Consumer Healthcare unit couldn't be reached for comment as of last Friday.
Consumers seeking a refund or coupon can fill out forms on J&J's website, www.mcneilproductrecall.com.