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Johnson & Johnson

J&J recalls continue: HIV drug found to contain trace levels of dangerous fungicide

Friday, May 20, 2011 by: Jonathan Benson, staff writer
Tags: Johnson & Johnson, fungicide, health news


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(NaturalNews) The strange, musty odor that prompted numerous earlier recalls of Johnson & Johnson's (J&J) Tylenol and certain other drugs has turned up again, this time in the company's HIV drug Prezista. Janssen, a division of J&J, has recalled four batches of 400 mg and 600 mg dose Prezista from Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Germany, and Austria, according to reports, and is allegedly conducting an investigation to identify the source of contamination.

Tribromoanisole (TBA), a fungicide chemical used in drug packaging and as a wood pallet preservative, is believed to be the cause of the foul odor. Four consumer reports of an unusual drug smell allegedly prompted Janssen to initiate an investigation, upon which the company has linked the odor to the highly-volatile toxic chemical.

TBA is a bromine halogen that, for years, has been linked to musty odors in various consumer products. A 2004 study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry linked the TBA used in wine corks to contamination of wine (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14995130). And halogenated anisole compounds like TBA are known to easily contaminate products since they are "prone to volatilize and adsorb onto articles stored near the TBA source," according to the FDA (http://www.fda.gov/drugs/guidancecompliancer...).

While the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) insists that the health risks associated with TBA are minimal, there is no meaningful toxicological data available to show that the chemicals are safe. The FDA does admit, however, that consumers have reported gastrointestinal upset from exposure to TBA. And halogens like bromine are known to cause serious health problems like endocrine disruption and thyroid disorders.

Since Janssen reportedly already began making changes to avoid TBA back in early 2010, the company is now having to pore back through its supply chain to figure out why some products are still getting contaminated.

Sources for this story include:

http://www.jnj.com/connect/news/all/janssen-...

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