Jan 14 If you cannot find Tylenol pain reliever
at your local CVS store this flu season, it might be because
that store is no longer stocking it.
CVS this month changed how it stocks Tylenol at its stores
in the wake of manufacturing problems at the drug's maker,
Johnson & Johnson, that have disrupted supplies for more
than three years.
Under the new plan, CVS will try to have Tylenol in stores
in each market, but will not have it in every store, spokesman
Michael DeAngelis said.
The company is getting enough Tylenol to stock about half of
its 7,400 U.S. stores, and it changed the stocking of Tylenol to
eliminate empty spots on shelves where the medication would have
The move by the drugstore unit of CVS Caremark Corp,
the second largest such unit in the United States, could be a
sign of the difficulty J&J faces as it tries to fix
quality-control problems and rebuild its Tylenol business.
A spokesman for J&J's McNeil Consumer Healthcare unit, which
makes Tylenol, did not return Reuters' calls seeking comment.
Since 2009, faulty manufacturing has prompted J&J's McNeil
unit to recall millions of bottles and packages of Tylenol,
Benadryl, Motrin and other over-the-counter medicines.
At the same time, CVS and other retailers have been putting
more emphasis on their private-label products, which cost less
than brand-name products but can be more profitable for
The length of time it has taken for J&J to upgrade its
factories and ramp up manufacturing of Tylenol has given
consumers plenty of time to try the store brand and decide
whether they want to pay more for Tylenol, Stephanie Prymas,
Consumer health analyst at market data researcher Euromonitor
"That's a pretty long time for private-label to gain some
credibility," Prymas said.
In 2009, before the recalls started, Tylenol had 56 percent
of the U.S. market share for acetaminophen, the chemical name of
Tylenol, according to Euromonitor. In 2012, that was down to 24
percent. At the same time, private-label market share has grown
from 32 percent to 62 percent.
Prymas said that private-label products are more accepted
now than 20 years ago, when deaths linked to cyanide-tainted
capsules caused Tylenol to be pulled from store shelves.
Private-label offerings are now more commonplace and trusted,
"We're kind of expecting private label to hold on more
tenaciously to what they have captured," Prymas said.
A visit to a CVS store on Chicago's North Side on Sunday
showed no obvious signs that Tylenol extra strength pain
reliever for adults had ever been on the shelves or any spaces
for the medication had to be restocked. Instead, the shelves
were well-stocked with the CVS brand.
DeAngelis declined to say whether the supply of Tylenol had
changed in recent weeks to prompt the new distribution plan.
A spokesman for Walgreen Co, the largest U.S.
drugstore chain, said that company has seen no change in its
supply of Tylenol products.