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McNeil Consumer Healthcare division said that it will be eliminating about 300 of 400 positions at its Fort Washington, Pa. manufacturing plant as it continues to cope with the aftermath of the massive over-the-counter drug recalls of Children' Tylenol, Motrin, Zyrtec and Benadryl, among others.

The cut is being made following McNeil's decision to refit its Fort Washington manufacturing facility with new equipment and reorganize the plant's operations. The plant will remain idle at least until mid-2011, necessitating the worker reduction.

McNeil said it has continued to provide employees with regular pay and benefits since operations at the plant were suspended in April pending an FDA investigation into its manufacturing practices. The pay and benefits should continue through at least mid-September, at which point they will receive a severance package based on years of service, the company said in a written statement.

McNeil anticipates some new hiring when the plant reopens with preferential consideration to previous employees who are qualified for the new positions. However, staffing levels at the refitted plant are expected to be substantially lower than they are today, the division said.

McNeil is taking steps to expedite production of many of the products that were previously produced at Fort Washington by utilizing other plants in the Johnson & Johnson's manufacturing network. As the division previously announced, although most products are not likely to be available before the end of 2010, McNeil expects to continue to expand its capacity to produce these products through the end of the year and in 2011.

In July, J&J's McNeil unit

expanded its recall of over-the-counter medicines

including Tylenol, Motrin and Benadryl, making it the fifth recall in nine months for McNeil.

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J&J stock has fallen 1.4% to $59.44 in Friday trading.

Medicine Recall 2010: Photos of Recalled J&J Products

Click here for on J&J McNeil's Tylenol recall

-- Reported by Andrea Tse in New York


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