By Mike Lillis
The House Oversight Committee wants the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to testify later this month on its role in the "phantom recall" of Motrin in 2008.
In that under-the-radar episode, Motrin manufacturer Johnson & Johnson hired private contractors to buy up defective pills directly from retailers' shelves.
ABC News reported Monday that e-mails sent between J&J executives suggest that some FDA officials knew of the strategy, but didn't take steps to force a broader recall until months later.
The news didn't escape Rep. Darrell Issa (Calif.) — the senior Republican on the House Oversight Committee told ABC the FDA needs to answer to the allegations.
“Johnson and Johnson’s not off the hook," Issa told ABC Monday, "but neither is the FDA for being too cozy with industry and not forthcoming with Congress."
In response, Oversight Chairman Edolphus Towns (D-N.Y.) on Monday requested that FDA Principal Deputy Commissioner Joshua Sharfstein testify at a previously scheduled Sept. 30 hearing on the Motrin recall.
Towns has also asked the FDA "to provide the committee with copies of its records relating to Johnson & Johnson’s phantom recall of Motrin, including all communications between Johnson & Johnson/McNeil employees and employees of the FDA from January 2009 to June 2009," according to a statement.
Johnson & Johnson CEO William Weldon is also scheduled to appear.