Johnson & Johnson ramps up Tylenol production as demand surges

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By Saumya Joseph

(Reuters) – Johnson & Johnson is seeing a spike in demand for its Tylenol over-the-counter pain killer and other self-care products, the company said on Friday, as the global spread of the coronavirus prompts people to stock up on essentials.

The company, which also makes Band-Aid and Listerine mouth wash, said it was shipping its stock in a “controlled manner” and that its manufacturing sites had ramped up production to ensure supply.

J&J said it did not anticipate a shortage of Tylenol, a commonly used drug for headache and fever, even though the drug “may have temporarily run out of stock at one location”.

Fears around shortages of some drugs emerged after the coronavirus outbreak wreaked havoc on supply chains and were amplified last week after India, the world’s main supplier of generic drugs, restricted the export of some ingredients as well as medicines including paracetamol, known as Tylenol in the United States.

J&J also said it was taking all possible measures to maximize the availability of its consumer products.

The coronavirus, which originated in Wuhan, China last year, has spread to more than 100 countries and killed more than 5,000 people worldwide, sparking a rush for everyday items ranging from toilet paper to packaged foods.

Pharmacy chain Walgreens Boots Alliance (NASDAQ:) Inc and supermarket chain Kroger (NYSE:) Co on Thursday placed purchase limits to stabilize inventory.

Kroger placed a limit on the number of cold, flu and sanitary products per order, while Walgreens said it was limiting disinfectant wipes and cleaners, face masks, hand sanitizers, thermometers and gloves to four each per customer.

The company also said majority of its global medical device manufacturing was running at or near normal capacity, and that it does not expect the outbreak to cause any disruptions to its supply of medicines.

J&J said it had business continuity plans in place across its global supply chain network, including maintaining inventory at distribution centers away from high-risk areas and said it was monitoring demand and supply levels.

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