Writing about the Grammar Nazis inspired me to convey this story of a simple typo that cost Johnston & Johnston over six million dollars in revenue. Here is what happened: The instructions on a box of Sudafed 24 hour should contain instructions to swallow the tablet whole. What the instructions actually said was, “…do not not divide, crush, chew, or dissolve the tablet.”
Do you catch the extra “not”? As a result of the double negative Johnson & Johnson recalled 667,632 (source) packages of Sudafed 24 hour. If you assume that the average price per box is $10, that is $6,676,320 of revenue lost due to a simple typo.
What is even more maddening for me personally is that as a result of the recall, the drug was unavailable for about 18 months. This sucked for me personally (and presumably thousands of others) because two 12 hour doses just isn’t the same as one 24 hour dose.
All because of a simple typo! Where were the grammar police when we needed them!?
- Cincinnati State fixes billboard typos (wcpo.com)
- You Can’t Make This Up (contrarianconsulting.com)
- Proofreader dealswith typo? (terriblywrite.wordpress.com)
- Missouri State puts typo on school book bags (stltoday.com)
- Those pesky typos . . . (hopeofglory.typepad.com)
- Cheeky Typos (robincoyle.wordpress.com)
- Funny Typo: “WVU Loses Bowel” (everyjoe.com)