Johnson & Johnson settles suit over Motrin buyback

The company agreed to pay Oregon more than $400,000

FILE - This July 19, 2002 picture shows the Johnson & Johnson corporate headquarters in New Brunswick, N.J. Johnson & Johnson issued a massive recall Friday, Jan. 15, 2010 of over-the-counter drugs including Tylenol, Motrin and St. Joseph's aspirin because of a moldy smell that has made people sick. (AP Photo/Daniel Hulshizer)

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) – Johnson & Johnson has agreed to pay Oregon more than $400,000 to settle a lawsuit over a nearly decade-old buyback of defective Motrin pills.

The company discovered in 2008 that supplies of the painkiller manufactured in Puerto Rico failed to dissolve properly, an issue that could lessen effectiveness.

Instead of doing a recall, the company hired a contractor to send secret shoppers out to buy the bad product from store shelves. The tactic eventually came to light.

Former Oregon state Attorney General John Kroger sued the company and two subsidiaries in 2011, saying the buyback exposed consumers to defective supplies.

Johnson & Johnson didn’t admit fault in the settlement. Company spokesman Marc Boston said Thursday there was a never a health risk, but the firm is pleased to resolve the case.