Massachusetts Democrats sent a second letter to Johnson & Johnson’s CEO on Thursday to once again demand more information on the shortages of children’s Tylenol and Motrin.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Democrat Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Katherine Clark and Lori Trahan sent the second letter to Johnson & Johnson CEO and Chairman of the Board Joaquin Duato, claiming that the company’s initial response left key questions unanswered.
The group of lawmakers sent their first letter on Jan. 12, and the company responded on Jan. 18.
“While your January 18th reply underscored your public statements about increased production, provided insight into the scale up of production based on forecasting models as early as April 2022, and clarified the timeline of communication with the FDA, key questions remain unanswered,” they wrote.
Tylenol and Motrin are both over-the-counter medicines that are commonly used to relieve pain and reduce fevers. CVS and Walgreens confirmed last month that their pharmacies were limiting the purchases of Tylenol and Motrin due to increased demand and product shortages.
This shortage came in the peak of the winter’s “tripledemic” storm of COVID-19, influenza and RSV infections, when demand for these products was high.
In the initial letter, the lawmakers asked Johnson & Johnson when the company learned of the medicine shortages, how much it increased production and when availability of the children’s medicine would return to normal. The group also asked for available “regional and city-by-city” data on the shortage.
In their second letter, the group said the company did not provide them any data or answer when the medicine availability would return to normal. They urged Johnson & Johnson to provide answers by Feb. 3.
“As Members of Congress, we are accountable to our constituents. As they navigate this shortage and still struggle to find product, it is essential that we are able to understand the scale and scope of this issue,” the lawmakers wrote. “This is pertinent not only for addressing the moment at hand but also for effectively working with industry in partnership with the FDA to ensure this crisis does not repeat itself during the next cold and flu season”
Johnson & Johnson said in their first response that their faculties had been running 24 hours a day, seven days a week since April 2022 to meet the winter demand, which resulted in a 50 percent increase in production year-over-year. The company added that they have also been in weekly communication with the Food and Drug Administration over the issue since Dec. 7.
The Johnson & Johnson spokesperson said in the letter that declining rates of fevers is a “positive development” to restore inventory.
“We take this matter very seriously and share your concern that parents, families, and caregivers – and most of all infants and children – may not have ready access to the products they need,” the spokesperson wrote. “Fortunately, the most recent epidemiological insights show a decrease in incidences of fever over the last three weeks, which should be a positive development for future retail inventory recovery.”