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Chronology of Events in Tylenol Poisonings With AM-Tylenol

February 14, 1986 GMT

Undated (AP) _ Here is a chronology of the Tylenol poisonings that began in 1982:

Sept. 30, 1982: At 9:30 a.m., Chicago-area medical officials say two brothers and a 12-year old girl died Sept. 29 of a lethal dose of cyanide in capsules of Extra-Strength Tylenol. The victims were Adam Janus, 27, Stanley Janus, 25, and Mary Kellerman.

Two women, Mary Reiner and Mary McFarland, also of Chicago suburbs, are pronounced dead after having taken Extra-Strength Tylenol on Sept. 29. Stanley Janus’ wife, Theresa, is near death; she, too, took capsules of the pain reliever tainted with cyanide.


Investigators say the cases are being treated as homicides and the manufacturer, McNeil Consumer Products, recalls nearly 4.7 million of the capsules from lot number MC2880. Stores nationwide begin pulling the best- selling pain reliever off their shelves.

Oct. 1: Investigators determine Extra-Strength Tylenol capsules ″had been pried open and placed back together.″ The U.S. Food and Drug Administration advises consumers against taking Extra-Strength Tylenol after the discovery of a second contaminated batch, lot 1910MD, which also is recalled.

Mrs. Janus, 19, dies after being comatose since taking capsules from the same bottle responsible for her husband’s death.

FDA investigators find a bottle of contaminated Tylenol capsules at a drugstore in the Chicago suburb of Schaumburg. It is the first unsold bottle recovered.

Mayor Jane Byrne announces the death of Paula Prince, the seventh victim and the first in the city of Chicago. The bottle found in her apartment is a 24-capsule bottle, with lot number 1801MA.

Oct. 2: Mrs. Byrne bans the sale of Tylenol in Chicago. about 150 federal, state and local authorities are working on the case.

Authorities say potassium cyanide, a poison found in school chemistry labs and metal plants, was used in the capsules, and the poison probably was placed on the shelves 36 hours before the first death.

Oct. 4: Teresa Janus, widow of Adam Janus, files a lawsuit seeking $15 million in damages from McNeil, its owner Johnson & Johnson, and two Jewel Food Stores.

Johnson & Johnson announces it stopped manufacturing the capsule form of Extra-Strength Tylenol on Oct. 1.

The FDA says it has tested more than 1 million capsules of the painkiller nationwide, with no cyanide found outside the Chicago area.

Oct. 5: Greg Blagg, an Oroville, Calif., man, says he became ill Sept. 30 after taking Extra-Strength Tylenol capsules laced with strychnine. Three bottles that had been tampered with were traced to a local drugstore. Blagg, 27, recovered.

Johnson & Johnson urges all stores nationwide to withdraw Tylenol - regular-strength and extra-strength - from their shelves.

Fahner says the California case probably was not connected with the seven Chicago-area deaths, and investigators narrow to eight or nine the number of suspects.

In Washington, a government-industry Joint Committee on Product Safety holds its first meeting on the possibility of designing tamper-proof packaging for over-the-counter drugs. The head of the FDA says there is ″no quick fix″ to the problem.

Dec. 6, 1982: First shipments of new tamper-resistant packages of Tylenol capsules are shipped to retailers.

Feb. 6, 1984: Deadline for drug makers to get non-tamper-resistant packages off store shelves. Most manufacturers jumped well ahead of the deadline.

Monday, Feb. 10, 1986: Authorities announce that Diane Elsroth, 23, of Peekskill, N.Y., died Saturday at the Yonkers home where her boyfriend, Michael Notarnicola, lived with his parents and brother.

Thursday: Two bottles of cyanide-tainted Tylenol are found in stores near the one where the pills that killed Miss Elsroth were purchased.

The state health commissioner bans the sale of all Tylenol capsules throughout New York, and a commissioner for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a nationwide warning against taking any Tylenol capsules.

Johnson & Johnson warns consumers against using the capsule form of its painkiller.