Why Did J&J's o.b. Tampons Vanish?


NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Frustration over the disappearance of popular Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) tampon brand o.b. was the result of a temporary supply interruption, the company said.

"O.b. tampons experienced a temporary supply interruption that has resulted in some stores being out of stock," a spokesman told TheStreet in an email.

The spokesman said that J&J has begun shipping o.b. products; they're already available in some stores, while others will be arriving over the next few days and weeks.

"We apologize to o.b. consumers who may have been inconvenienced."

The spokesman noted that J&J's Ultra tampon line was discontinued in September due to a business decision rather than unusual reports of adverse events.

This week, numerous reports said that J&J's o.b. tampons had disappeared from stores without much explanation, inciting frustration among consumers.

The reports were circulated as J&J's McNeil Consumer division issued yet another Tylenol and Rolaid recall amid the company's struggles to repair its reputation -- tarnished by its massive product recalls.

Meanwhile, due to mixed performance last year and the consequences of its damaged reputation, J&J employees won't be receiving full bonuses for 2010, the Wall Street Journal reported.

J&J stock rose 0.4% to $62.78 in morning trading, while shares of related company Merck ( MRK) fell 0.2% to $33.85. Pfizer ( PFE) was falling 1.4% to $18.07.
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