Johnson & Johnson confirmed the existence of a Food and Drug Administration investigation apparently related to a former employee's allegations regarding a Puerto Rico manufacturing facility that produces Eprex, an anemia drug that has been linked to serious illnesses in Europe and Canada. J&J vehemently denied wrongdoing and said it has cooperated fully with the FDA since learning of the investigation in April, although it is unaware of the precise nature of the FDA's inquiry. In a written statement, company officials said they had thoroughly investigated the employee's allegations and confirmed "that the integrity of our product has never been compromised." The employee, a utilities worker with no responsibility for manufacturing, was fired in 1999 for failing to keep proper equipment records, J&J said. In a March 2000 lawsuit, the employee charged he was directed to falsify records between 1996 to 1998. Eprex has been linked to serious illnesses in the past few months that have left some users dependent on blood transfusions. -- by Cinda Becker
J&J manufacturing plant under FDA investigation
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