Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Medique: Recalls 31 Medications Sold Exclusively on Amazon (2018-2020)



Medique was founded in 1974 as a company that sold first-aid products and medical supplies.  They strived to supply workplaces but have since expanded.

On September 11, 2020 Medique recalled thirty-one of their over-the-counter medications.  Roughly 143,300 units were recalled at this time.  However, the recall was not due to the medication themselves, it was due to the packaging that the medication was in.  Product’s containing certain substances, by law, have to be in child resistant packaging.  The packaging that these products were sold in did not meet the regulations of child-proof packaging set by the PPPA.  The recall is for any of these medications sold solely from Amazon.com between the date of June 2018 and June 2020.  The price ranged from two dollars to fifty-nine dollars and those who go through the recall process will receive a full refund for their purchase. Thankfully, there was no incidents between these times. In this paper we will go over each of the ethical theories that we learned about in class and determine if this situation would be considered ethical or unethical from their point-of-view.  From the point-of-view of individualism this would be considered ethical, they maximized profit.  From the Utilitarianisms point-of-view they were ethical, they maximized happiness.  Looking from a Kantianism’s point-of-view they were also ethical.  The customers weren’t treated solely as a mere means but also as an end.  Finally, regarding Virtue Theory, they were also ethical.  They expressed all four cardinal virtues which allows them to be ethical in their decision making.  I would suggest for the company to place another level of double-checking into their process in order to prevent this from every happening again.  It would also be a good idea for them to make sure that their customers know that they are aware that they’re supplying to families.  Having the company acknowledge the families and make them their top priority they could possibly bring in more customers as the medicine company that takes families into consideration.     

Ethics Case Controversy

            When one buys a product, they assume that it doesn’t pose any threat to their family when said product is brought into their home.  However, the packaging that the product is contained within can pose a threat that consumers don’t even think about.  This is due to the fact that there are laws and regulations set in place to make sure that potentially dangerous products are as safe as they can be.  Consumers bank on the fact that they are assuming the product they are buying abides by those laws and regulations.  However in 2020, which seems very fitting, it was announced that for two whole years 143,000 products did not meet those laws and regulations posing threats of life-threatening situations for those who had purchased them (.

            On September 11, 2020 a well-known medical brand, Medique, recalled thirty-one of their over-the-counter medications (CPSC).  These medications came from their Medi-First, Medi-First Plus, Medique, Dover, Otis Clapp, and Ecolab product lines (CPSC).  Of these product lines 143,000 units in total were sold and needed to be recalled (CPSC).  One of the products was the Medi-First Non-Aspirin Acetaminophen containing 325mg of acetaminophen (Desk).  There were 2 tablets per packet and they were sold in a quantity of 50 packets or 250 packets (Desk).  The next was Medi-First Extra Strength Non-Aspirin Acetaminophen containing 500mg of acetaminophen (Desk).  This product also has 2 tablets per packet and was sold in a quantity of 50 packets, 125 packets, and 250 packets (Desk).  Medi-First Sinus Pain and Pressure contained 500mg of acetaminophen and came as 2 tablets per packet (Desk).  These packets were sold also as 50 packets, 125, or 250 packets (Desk).  Medique APAP contained 325mg of acetaminophen and came as 2 tablets per packet (Desk).  However, they only came in a quantity of 250 (Desk).  

Medique Extra Strength APAP contained 500mg of acetaminophen and came with 2 tablets per packet (Desk).  The quantity that was offered for this product was 50, 125, or 250 (Desk).  Medique Back Pain-Off contained 250mg of acetaminophen and had 2 tablets per packet (Desk).  This product was sold in quantities of 50, 100, or 250.  Medique CCP Caffeine Free had 325mg of acetaminophen in it and came with 2 tablets per packet (Desk).  The quantities for this product was 50 or 250 (Desk).  Medi-First Cold Relief had 325mg of acetaminophen and 2 tablets per packet (Desk).  They were sold as either 50, 125, 250 packets (Desk).  Medique Cramp Tabs was sold as 2 per packet with 325mg of acetaminophen in quantities of 50, 125, or 250 (Desk).  Medique Decorel Forte Plus had 325mg of acetaminophen in them and 2 tablets per packet (Desk).  The quantities that were offered for this product was 50 and 250 (Desk).  Medique Medicidin-D had 325mg of acetaminophen and 2 tablets per packet with quantities of 50, 100, and 250 (Desk).  Dover Aminofen had 325mg of acetaminophen and also had 2 tablets per packet the quantity offered in this product was only 250 (Desk).  Otis Clapp Back Quell has 200mg of acetaminophen and sold in quantities of 150 packets (Desk).  Otis Clapp Mygrex has 500mg and sold in quantities of 150 packets and Otis Clapp Valihist has 325mg and is sold as 150 packets (Desk).  Medi-First Pain Relief Extra Strength has 110mg of acetaminophen and 162mg of aspiring which is sold in quantities of 50, 100, and 250 (Desk).  Medi-First Plus Pain Zappers has 250mg of acetaminophen and 250mg of aspirin and is sold in quantities of 50 and 125 (Desk).  Medique Pain-Off has 250mg of acetaminophen and 250mg of aspirin and is sold as 50, 100, or 250 (Desk).  Medi-First Aspirin has 325mg of aspirin and is sold as 50, 125, or 250 (Desk).  Medi-First Plus Aspirin has 325mg of aspirin and is sold as 50 or 125 (Desk).  Medique Aspirin is also 325mg of aspirin and is sold as 12, 100, or 250 (Desk).  Medique Diphen has 25mg of diphenhydramine and is sold as 24 or 200 (Desk).  Medi-First Ibuprofen has 200mg and is sold as 4, 50, 125, or 250 (Desk).  Medique I-Prin has 200mg of ibuprofen and is sold as 3, 100, or 250 (Desk).  Dover Addaprin also has 200mg of ibuprofen and is only offered in a quantity of 250 (Desk).  Medi-First Burn Cream with Lidocaine has 0.9 grams of lidocaine and comes as a set of 25 individual packets (Desk).  Medi-First Burn Spray only comes as a 2 oz bottle containing 2% of lidocaine HCI (Desk).  Medi-First Blood Clotting Spray comes in a 3 oz bottle with 4% lidocaine (Desk).  Ecolab Burn Cream comes as a set of 25 individual packets each with 0.9 grams of lidocaine in them (Desk).  Medique Diamode comes in a packet of one with 2mg of loperamide HCI and is offered as 6, 50, or 100 (Desk).  Medique Mediprozen comes in a packet of one with 220mg of naproxen sodium, offered in quantities of 50 and 100 (Desk).

            Each of these products were recalled because the packaging didn’t take significant effort for a child to open.  They are required by PPPA to make it almost impossible for a child under 5 to open any sort of packaging containing the substances such as aspirin, acetaminophen, ibuprofen, lidocaine, diphenhydramine, loperamide, and naproxen (CPSC).  Each of the products above contained one of those substances therefor requiring the recall of the product.  The products were sold solely by

 Amazon.com between the time of June 2018 and June 2020.  The prices ranged from two dollars to fifty-nine dollars depending on the product and the quantity that was purchased.  

            According to the PPPA the products shouldn’t have been sold to the consumers to begin with because of the packaging not meeting the child-proof regulations (Medique).  Thankfully, there isn’t any known circumstances where anyone was hurt due to the packaging or consumption of the medication due to the packaging.  The company did the recall as a precaution to prevent any future situations that could result in poisoning due to the packaging.  The recall number is 20-780 where is states what products are being recalled under the CPSC and the time frame of the recalled products.  If a consumer goes to the company’s website, they can find the recall link that will lead them to the details of the recall (Medique Products).  The link will also lead them to where they can fill out their claim if they are someone that happened to buy one of the recalled products.  Once they fill out the claim the company is issuing a full refund to the consumers.  The website also informs the reader how to properly dispose of the recalled item so that it no longer poses any sort of threat to their household.  There is also a number that is can be called if someone doesn’t have access to the website. 


            This situation had many different stakeholders, those whom won’t even be able to be individually listed due to the circumstances of the situation.  However, a stakeholder is anyone that would be affected by this situation.  The first and most important stakeholder in this situation would be the customers who bought the recalled products.  They purchased something as normal as cold medicine and had no idea there was a massive threat sitting in their cabinets if they had kids in the house.  

Thankfully no one was hurt or died, but the idea that someone messed up a product and it posed a threat to their children would be enough to enrage most parents.  The consumers had trusted the company to make sure that their product was in safe packaging to safeguard them from any incidents and they failed to do so.

            The next stakeholder would the company themselves.  They spent time and money on factories and facilities to package their product the correct way so that they could be trusted by their consumers.  This could have been a very big problem for them had someone died or been poisoned by the non-child-proof packaging.  Had there been a horrible circumstance, the consumer could have sued causing an even larger problem for the company.  It  benefits the company to take the extra steps and make sure that their packaging meets all regulations set by the PPPA so that way they have something to fall back on in situations like these.


        The next stakeholder in this situation would be amazon.com.  The recalled products were solely sold by them and no other distributor or company.  The fact that other Medique products were sold in the time frame of 2018 and 2020 by other distributors and weren’t recalled pointed the finger towards amazon.com.  Had they had anything to do with packaging the products and something were to have happened the blame would have also been on them.  However, they were the second set of people who should have caught the faulty packaging.  Amazon.com were the workers that looked at the product before it was put into a box and sent to the consumers household so they should have checked to make sure that everything was correct before sending it off.  This falls on them too because they were the party that actually handed the medicine to the consumers.  If something had gone horribly wrong the consumer could have said something along the lines of “I got it off Amazon.”.  In order to safeguard themselves, Amazon should know exactly what they are sending to the customers that use their website and make sure that it meets all regulations.


            There are two different versions of Individualism that essentially mean the same thing.  The first version is from Friedman who believed that the only job of the company was to maximize profit from the company (Salazar).  Make sure that no one steals from money from the owner’s and if anything is given away that qualifies as stealing (Salazar).  He also believed that corporations should have the same rules as small businesses.  The second version of Individualism is Machan’s version.  This versions goal was to make a profit off the business and to maximize that profit within what the law allows (Salazar).  However, sometimes in order to achieve this goal you have to go about it indirectly and try to achieve something else in order to maximize profit (Salazar).

            Looking at the Medique recall of the 31 over-the-counter products, this situation wouldn’t be considered ethical from an Individualisms point of view.  The company initially maximized their profit by selling all those different products from their product lines.  However, because there was a recall and they had to issue refunds for everyone that made a claim they ended up losing money.  Losing money is the opposite of what the goal of Individualism is.  Also, most likely, not everyone that bought one of the recalled products had children which means that they probably didn’t dispose of the recalled product.  They could have not only kept the recalled product because a child-proof package didn’t mean anything to them, but they could have received the refund of the recalled product as well.  Essentially, from an Individualism point of view, that person would be stealing from the company because the good or service would have been given to them. However, from a different standpoint, the company could have been profitable from the recall because they are ensuring the trust of their consumer.  This would be an indirect goal that would bring them to their direct goal of making a profit.  The company righted their wrongs and therefor the consumers may still purchase their product providing profit to the company.


            The main goal of Utilitarianism is to maximize happiness in yourself and in others (Salazar).  This is because happiness and pleasure are the only things of intrinsic value and everyone who can feel them should feel them (Salazar).  That also means that if happiness is valuable then there isn’t a difference between your happiness and my own (Salazar).  With Utilitarianism in mind, I believe that the company was ethical from their point of view.

            The company maximized happiness the best they could with the recall.  The customers who had bought the recalled products most likely weren’t pleased that the products didn’t meet packaging regulations however I’m sure they were happy that nothing was wrong with the product itself.  The product itself was safe to consume when used properly which must have been a huge relief for the customers who purchased them over two years.  There were also no incidents with children getting into the products even though they weren’t child-proof.  This made everyone involved in the situation happy.  The customers also received a refund on their products if they made a claim which must have brought them happiness.  The company themselves must have been thrilled that they didn’t have any lawsuits on their hands regarding children who had been poisoned because of the faulty packaging of their medicine.  Amazon must have also been happy that there weren’t any lawsuits taken out on them because they were the middleman who sold the products and then distributed them directly to the customers.  Overall, even with the circumstances, happiness was maximized as best as possible which makes it ethical from a Utilitarian’s point of view.  No one was hurt, no one was sued, and some even got money out of the entire situation.


            Kantianism is one of the more difficult ethical theories to wrap one’s mind around even though it’s something that everyone should be living by.  The basis of Kantianism that determines if something is ethical or not would the formula of humanity.  The formula of humanity means that you can never treat someone as simply a mere means but always also as an ends (Salazar).  With that being said I believe in the regards to Kantianism Medique was ethical in their recall of the 31 over-the-counter products. 

            Medique didn’t treat their customers as a mere means because if they had they would have sold their products and then not looked back or cared if anyone had gotten hurt.  The company not only recognized their mistake but also acknowledged that someone could get hurt and reached back out to their customers in order to try and right their wrong.  They offered different ways that customers could get in touch with them in order to try and reach all those affected and then they stepped up and gave refunds for products that they were advising customers to dispose of.  Medique thought of these customers not only as customers but as people with families and loved ones who would be heartbroken if something had happened.  In order to not be the culprit of any of that chaos, they alerted their customers and took all the steps that they could to further prevent anything from happening.  Granted, they were the ones that messed up in the first place, but what was done was done and there was no going back.  They had to move forward with their customers and do what they could to protect them once they were aware of the mistake that had taken place.  This is treating there customer also as a means which is the reason that this circumstance would be considered ethical from that point of view.  The customers were not only a mere means but always also an ends to the Medique company and they stepped up when the customers needed to be notified and amends needed to be made.

Virtue Theory

            Virtue theory is different than any of the other ethical theories that have already been discussed in this paper.  This theory looks at a person’s individual traits to determine why they make the decisions that they make.  There was a presentation by Andrew Havard that discussed the topic and explained the four cardinal virtues which are prudence, courage, self-control, and justice (Havard).  Prudence is the virtue of making the right choices, courage is the virtue of having the courage to stick with it, self-control is the virtue that allows someone to appropriately use their emotions, and justice is the virtue to treat everyone equally and give them what they deserve (Havard).  A person also has magnanimity which means that they want to know who they are as a person (Havard).  If someone is missing one of these traits then they are missing them all (Havard).  

            When the Medique situation is taken into consideration I believe that the situation is ethical.  They exercised prudence by making the right decision to recall their products that had faulty packaging.  They had the courage to stick with the plan of the recall and the refund and then correct their mistake and make it better.  They had self-control allowing them to put aside the fact that they were going to lose money and instead be thankful that no one was harmed in the process of selling of the faulty products.  Finally, they showed justice to the people treating all those that received the recalled products the same.  The company also had magnanimity which means that they know who they are as a company and it’s a company that wants to ensure that their products are safe for their consumers.  They also want to ensure that their customers return to them even when mistakes are made. The company expressed all four cardinal virtues which is a good thing because if they’re missing one then they are missing them all.  Hence, I believe that in regard to the virtue theory Medique was ethical in their decision to recall and refund the products.

Justified Ethics Evaluation

After reviewing all the ethical theories and analyzing the situation with Medique, I believe that they were as ethical as they could be considering the situation.  Granted, I don’t believe that the product should have ever been sold if the packaging didn’t meet the regulations of the PPPA.  They were lucky that nothing worse came out of this and that no children got into the non-child-proof packaging and ended up poison.  They maximize happiness in all that is required to be ethical from a Utilitarian’s point-of-view.  The customers weren’t solely treated as a mere means but also as an end which makes it ethical from a Kant’s point-of-view.  They have all four cardinal virtues which makes it ethical from a virtue theorists’ point-of-view.  Individualism is the only one that is being teetered on if it’s ethical from their point-of-view or not.  However, when you look at it from the angle of sometimes needing to aim for something else in order to maximize profit, I believe that it is ethical.  They had to resolve the situation in order to keep their customers which in turn will maximize profit.  To conclude, the company controversy was ethical in my opinion after looking at the ethical theories and the circumstances of the situation.

Company Action Plan

On September 11, 2020 Medique recalled thirty-one of their over-the-counter products.  These products were sold solely on Amazon.com between the time frame of June 2018 and June 2020.  There was nothing wrong with the medications themselves, however their packaging did not meet the PPPA child-proof regulations of medications containing the substances of aspirin, acetaminophen, ibuprofen, lidocaine, diphenhydramine, loperamide, and naproxen.  These products were sold for between two dollars and fifty-nine dollars.  They reached out to those of their customers that they could but because the products were sold on amazon.com they didn’t have a record of everyone that bought a recalled product.  From there they provided customers with different ways for them to be able to reach the company.  Once the customer reached the company, they were supplied with information on how to properly dispose of their recalled products so that they no longer posed any sort of threat to anyone’s family.  The customer was supplied with a link or place that they could claim their recall and then were refunded for the products that they purchased.  

    A mission statement that the company should take on would be “To supply medicine and first-aid products to families like ours”.  Their original mission statement was to the number one supplier of workplaces, however this new mission statements coincides with their expansion.  Their products have made their ways into people’s homes and their mission statement should reflect that.  This mission statement brings comfort to their customers allowing them the opportunity to feel that the people behind this company has families that they care about as well.  The customers feel they aren’t just a dollar sigh but that they are viewed as people with families.  When they are viewed as people and not profit more precautions will be taken.  Along with a new mission statement they should set core values for the company to keep in mind.  Customer safety should be their number one core value.  They are supplying medicine that is consumed by their customers, their safety needs to be the top priority.  Honesty should be the second one that they take in.  They need to be up front and honest with their customers about their products.  If their honest to their customers than their customers will trust them because they will know exactly what the company stands for.  They will also know exactly what they are putting in their bodies and giving to their loved ones.  The final core value that should be applied would be caution.  The mistake that was made by the fact that the packaging wasn’t child-proof should never happen again.  The result of that mistake could have been fatal to someone and they need to take the extra precautions to make sure that it never happens again.  Medique needs to be cautious with what they are making and placing in other’s homes within the reach of their children’s little hands.

            They also need to set into place different levels of checking to make sure that everything is safe.  If they needed to, they could fire another set of staff solely to make sure that the packaging meets regulations.  They may want to consider firing those that messed up two years’ worth of products as well.  My plan will promote profit because they will be rebranded as the company that protects the little ones.  They won’t be a company that only wants to make money, they’ll be the company that cares about families.  They acknowledge that they have families and will therefor think like they are putting these products in their own homes with their own loved ones.


“Medique Recalls 31 Different Over-the-Counter Drugs Due to Failure to Meet Child Resistant Packaging Requirement; Risk of Poisoning; Sold Exclusively on Amazon.com (Recall Alert).” U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, 11 Sept. 2020, www.cpsc.gov/Recalls/2020/medique-recalls-31-different-over-the-counter-drugs-due-to-failure-to-meet-child. 

“Poison Prevention Packaging Act.” CPSC.gov, 17 Nov. 2020, www.cpsc.gov/Regulations-Laws--Standards/Statutes/Poison-Prevention-Packaging-Act.

“What is Virtuous leadership? by Alexandre Havard” YouTube video, 45:52. Posted by “Strathmore University” July 17, 2013. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hWqAYDJYxak 

Desk, WGN Web. “Medique Issues Recall on Medicine Sold on Amazon.” WGN, WGN-TV, 14 Sept. 2020, wgntv.com/midday-news/medique-issues-recall-on-medicine-sold-on-amazon/. 

Limbach A Washington, James. “Medique Recalls 31 Different over-the-Counter Drugs.” ConsumerAffairs, 18 Sept. 2020, www.consumeraffairs.com/recalls/medique-recalls-31-different-over-the-counter-drugs-091820.html. 

Medique Products. “Safety Notice.” Medique Products - The Brands That Work, 2020, mediqueproducts.com/safetynotice.html. 

Medique. “Medique OTC Products.” Home Page - MediqueOTC, 2020, www.recallrtr.com/mediqueotc. 



No comments:

Post a Comment