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The Wall Street Journal reports this morning that Johnson & Johnson is walking a fine line with its response to a recent report by a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advisory panel that there ought to limits on the consumption of acetaminophen, which is the generic name for J&J’s Tylenol product, because of health risks associated with overdose.

While the company has taken out full page ads in major newspapers saying that taken in proper dosages, Tylenol is the “safest brand of pain reliever you can choose,” the Journal suggests that J&J cannot protest too much, lest it be seen as too defensive, which could lead to tougher federal regulation.

It is expected that the ads only are a first step for J&J, which is likely to take steps on packaging and on shelves to work to communicate a consistent message to consumers that in the proper dosage, Tylenol is safe. The FDA is expected to take three to six months to decide what federal policy should be in the matter and whether to adopt the advisory group’s proposals.
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