The QMN Weekly Bulletin

J&J Recalls Procrit, Remicade After Theft

June 13, 2008

After learning that a transport trailer carrying 9,000 vials of high-value injectable medications was stolen while in transit in Tennessee, Johnson & Johnson (J&J) recalled several lots of the drugs associated with the shipment.

“To ensure patient safety, Centocor and Ortho Biotech are voluntarily withdrawing products with lot numbers matching those of the stolen product,” the J&J subsidiaries said. The affected medications included three lots of erythropoiesis-stimulating agent Procrit (epoetin alfa), two lots of cancer treatment Doxil (doxorubicin HCl) and two lots of TNF inhibitor Remicade (infliximab).

“The transport trailer and product have not yet been recovered,” J&J said. “If the stolen product were to be reintroduced into distribution channels, the companies cannot guarantee that products were stored at appropriate temperatures, nor can the companies guarantee the products were not damaged.”

The theft occurred May 6 when the driver took a break at a truck stop. The shipment originated from a J&J distribution center in Kentucky operated by JOM Pharmaceutical Services, a J&J subsidiary.

The firm discontinued shipping drugs with lot numbers matching the stolen medicines the next day. Healthcare providers that received the products before the theft were told to consider them safe for use.

Mike Smithers, lead investigator on the case and a police detective in Louisville, Ky., said the perpetrators were suspected of following the transport trailer from the distribution center to the truck stop. He said there has been a rash of transport thefts for all types of goods in the area since UPS opened a distribution center in the region.