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In 1982, seven people died after taking over-the-counter (OTC) Tylenol Extra Strength capsules containing sodium cyanide. Because the capsules were manufactured and purchased at different locations, police believed someone tampered with the medications as they sat on store shelves. Still unsolved, the investigation reopened in 2009 and remains focused on James W. Lewis, who was convicted of attempting to extort $1 million from Johnson & Johnson, parent of McNeil Consumer Healthcare, manufacturer of Tylenol, to “stop the killings.” The Tylenol tampering case altered consumer perceptions of OTC product safety and revolutionized packaging for numerous consumer products, but had the most effect on pharmaceuticals, food, and cosmetics, which are considered higher targets for tampering. The tragedy also set the standard for corporate response to a crisis ...

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