4 legislators prod J&J for answers over Tylenol, Motrin shortages

As the shortage of children's pain medications continues, four Massachusetts lawmakers questioned Johnson & Johnson, the largest U.S. pharmaceutical company by revenue, about its supply of Tylenol and Motrin in a letter sent Jan. 12. 

Despite J&J increasing production, people are "still visiting store after store only to find empty shelves," Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Lori Trahan and Katherine Clark wrote.

The legislators asked J&J to provide supply data and answer five questions:

1. On what date did Johnson & Johnson become aware internally of the pending Infant & Children's Tylenol and Motrin shortage in North America? 

2. On what date did Johnson & Johnson provide voluntary notice to the FDA on this shortage? 

3. How much has production increased? 

4. By what date will that increase in production match demand? 

5. By what date will normal availability of product in Massachusetts be restored? 

Pediatric presentations of Tylenol (acetaminophen) and Motrin (ibuprofen), which are both fever reducers and pain medications, are among a weekslong shortage of children's medicines as the heightened flu and respiratory syncytial virus seasons slowly wane. 

Tylenol and Motrin have been in shortage since December

Erin Fox, PharmD, the senior pharmacy director at Salt Lake City-based University of Utah Health, told Becker's the shortage of children's pain medications is "irritating" because some drugmakers are not acknowledging the shortage because they are still filling their contracts while demand outpaces supply.

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