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http://online.wsj.com/article/SB119210335336055893.html?mod=rss_whats_news_us

and

http://www.jnj.com/news/jnj_news/20071011_085444.htm

From the WSJ article:

"These medicines are -- and always have been -- safe at recommended doses," Linda A. Suydam, president of CHPA, said in a statement. "These voluntary actions are being taken out of an abundance of caution. The vast majority of parents and caregivers safely use these medicines to help relieve their children's symptoms. But as with all medicines, it's important that parents read over-the-counter medicine labels carefully, use these medicines only as directed, and store them safely out of the reach of children."

and from the J&J article:

Fort Washington, PA (October 11, 2007) – McNeil Consumer Healthcare, a division of McNeil-PPC, Inc., announced today that the company is voluntarily withdrawing certain infants' cough and cold products from the market. When used as directed, these medicines are generally recognized as safe and effective. While most parents use these medicines appropriately and follow dosing directions, an assessment of available data on the use of pediatric cough and cold medicines has identified rare instances of misuse leading to overdose, particularly in infants under two years of age.

As a stockholder, I'm aggravated by this. As an employee, I'm really aggravated by this on a different level.

As a parent, I'm well and truly pissed off.

Essentially, there are some parents who can't, won't, or are incapable of reading labels and end up causing fatal overdoses in their children as a result.

So the answer is "pull the infant medication!" Because those same parents, when annoyed by their kids' coughing or not sleeping, aren't just going to use the "kid's" version of the medicine, and probably end up doing the same thing.

I have a tremendous respect and deep appreciation for the Credo (I have posted here about that before), and I understand how this relates to the first lines most of all: We believe our first responsibility is to the doctors, nurses and patients, to mothers and fathers and all others who use our products and services.

But I feel that in some ways, the company that does things "right" (and I have seen the vast amount of literature on proper dosing in pediatricians' offices, education flyers, education on overdose, pamphlets on when to use the medication in multiple languages, etc.), is being held hostage by the litigation-happy society we live in.

A child dying is a tragedy and not to be treated lightly in any possible way. But to hold the drug maker hostage for the fact that clearly printed warnings and dosages printed on the bottles themselves were not paid attention to and ignored is getting to the point of ridiculousness.

I have a child who is extremely susceptible to colds, and is miserable when he gets them. His coughs are so severe sometimes that he almost throws up when he's coughing. He can be up for night after night, because the cough and colds he gets won't let him sleep - and sleep is what he needs. No antibiotic will fix it - he needs to have the symptoms controlled.

We have a nebulizer, and I try to use it sparingly. We have a steamer in his room for times like this, and I don't hesistate to use that - ever. But it only helps so much.

To fight a cough, you have to fight the post nasal drip, and yes, despite what they may say about dextromethorpan not being "proven effective" in small children, all I know is that when I give him Tylenol Cough & Cold, in the right dose for his weight, his breathing through his nose eases. His post nasal drip becomes manageable. And he stops coughing for long enough for him to get some real sleep.

Is J&J doing the right thing? Yes, because the court of public opinion is screaming to "save the children!!!!" once again. But who is going to save the kids with colds from the court of "ridiculously high awards in lawsuits" and "let's sue everyone - all the time!"?
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