Posts Tagged ‘Tylenol Murders

29
Sep
08

On This Day, 9-29-2008: Tylenol Terrorist

Anyone who lived in Illinois at the time should remember this one.

September 29, 1982

The Tylenol murders

On this day in 1982, a sick 12-year-old girl in Elk Grove Village, Illinois, unwittingly takes an Extra-Strength Tylenol capsule laced with cyanide poison and dies later that day. She would be one of seven people to die suddenly after taking the popular over-the-counter medication, as the so-called Tylenol murders spread fear across America. The victims, all from the Chicago area, ranged in age from 12 to 35 and included three members of the same family. Johnson & Johnson, the maker of Tylenol, launched a massive recall of its product and offered a $100,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the person or people responsible.

Investigators soon determined that the tainted Tylenol capsules hadn’t been tampered with at the factories where they were produced. This meant that someone had taken the bottles from store shelves, laced them with poison and then returned them to grocery stores and pharmacies, where the victims later purchased the tampered bottles.

Johnson & Johnson reacted to the crisis swiftly and decisively, launching a massive public relations campaign urging the public not to use Tylenol. The company also ordered a national recall of 264,000 bottles of Tylenol and offered free replacement of the product in safer tablet form. At the time, it was unusual for companies to recall their products.

Before the “Tylenol Terrorist” struck, Tylenol was the nation’s leading over-the-counter drug and Johnson & Johnson’s bestselling product and some observers speculated that Tylenol would never be able to recover from the disaster. However, within months, Tylenol was back on store shelves with a new safety seal. The recall and re-launch cost Johnson & Johnson over $100 million, but in the end, Johnson & Johnson was praised for its handling of the crisis. Within a year, Tylenol’s market share rebounded and its tarnished image was significantly repaired.

The Tylenol murders, which inspired copycat crimes involving other products, were never solved, although various individuals were investigated. However, a positive outcome of the crisis was that it led drug makers to develop tamper-proof packaging, which had been largely nonexistent before the Tylenol Terrorist struck.

“The Tylenol murders.” 2008. The History Channel website. 29 Sep 2008, 04:58 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=tdihArticleCategory&id=52868.

 

On This Day

1758 – England’s Admiral Horatio Nelson was born.

1789 – A regular army was established by the U.S. War Department with several hundred men.

1943 – U.S. Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower and Italian Marchal Pietro Badoglio signed an armistice aboard the British ship Nelson.

1962 – U.S. President John F. Kennedy nationalized the Mississippi National guard in response to city officials defying federal court orders. The orders had been to enroll James Meredith at the University of Mississippi.

1978 – Pope John Paul I was found dead after only one month of serving as pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church.

1983 – The War Powers Act was used for the first time by the U.S. Congress when they authorized President Reagan to keep U.S. Marines in Lebanon for 18 more months.

1988 – The space shuttle Discovery took off from Cape Canaveral in Florida. It was the first manned space flight since the Challenger disaster.

1994 – The U.S. House voted to end the practice of lobbyist buying meals and entertainment for members of Congress.

 

September 29, 1941

Babi Yar massacre begins

The Babi Yar massacre of nearly 34,000 Jewish men, women, and children begins on the outskirts of Kiev in the Nazi-occupied Ukraine.

The German army took Kiev on September 19, and special SS squads prepared to carry out Nazi leader Adolf Hitler’s orders to exterminate all Jews and Soviet officials found there. Beginning on September 29, more than 30,000 Jews were marched in small groups to the Babi Yar ravine to the north of the city, ordered to strip naked, and then machine-gunned into the ravine. The massacre ended on September 30, and the dead and wounded alike were covered over with dirt and rock.

Between 1941 and 1943, thousands more Jews, Soviet officials, and Russian prisoners of war were executed at the Babi Yar ravine in a similar manner. As the German armies retreated from the USSR, the Nazis attempted to hide evidence of the massacres by exhuming the bodies and burning them in large pyres. Numerous eyewitnesses and other evidence, however, attest to the atrocities at Babi Yar, which became a symbol of Jewish suffering in the Holocaust.

“Babi Yar massacre begins.” 2008. The History Channel website. 29 Sep 2008, 04:57 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=tdihArticleCategory&id=5383.

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