14. In the 1980’s, People Were Dying From Taking Poisoned Tylenol.
On September 29th, 1989, seven people in Chicago all died on the same day a few minutes after taking Tylenol that they had purchased from a pharmacy. Someone was opening bottles of Tylenol and replacing the pills with poison. Tragically, three people in the Janus family died from the pills, because the father died first, and they assumed it was an age-related illness. Siblings Stanley and Theresa Janus both took Tylenol after coming home from the hospital, and they died, too. The family finally realized that the pills were poisoned, and the police were able to figure out that this was linked to the other deaths in the city.
An investigator realized that the pill bottles from the homes of both victims had the same control number, meaning that they were all from the same batch made in the factory. It was discovered that the pills had been filled with lethal doses potassium cyanide. That same day, Johnson & Johnson recalled 31 million bottles of their product from store shelves, to make sure no one else died. They encouraged anyone who had already purchased a bottle of Tylenol to throw it away, and they will get a bottle for free. They also offered a $100,000 reward for anyone who could help identify the killer. None of the bottles ever had any fingerprints that would lead to the killer, and there was not enough evidence to prove their identity.
A month after the news of these murders went public, copycat killers began to poison medicine in pharmacies all across the country. Because of this case, pharmaceutical companies began to add safety seals on bottles of pills so that customers know if they had been opened already.