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Stores Asked to Remove Pills After Poisoning

June 18, 1986|MARLENE CIMONS | Times Staff Writer

WASHINGTON — The manufacturer of Extra-Strength Excedrin capsules Tuesday asked stores nationwide to remove the product from shelves after authorities in Auburn, Wash., found cyanide-laced capsules in the home of a 40-year-old bank manager who died last week of cyanide poisoning.

However, Dr. Frank E. Young, commissioner of the federal Food and Drug Administration, said there was thus far "no evidence that this is anything but a local, isolated event."

Sue Snow, married and a mother of two, was discovered collapsed in her Auburn home last Wednesday by a relative and died later that day in a hospital, according to local authorities. Federal and local officials said Tuesday that an investigation had revealed cyanide in the woman's bloodstream and in a bottle of Extra-Strength Excedrin capsules found in her home.

"There was unquestionably cyanide in the bottle and in her blood," Young said in an interview.

Bristol-Myers, the maker of Excedrin, recommended Tuesday that outlets across the country voluntarily "quarantine" Excedrin products "for the time being" until more information is obtained about the death. The request applies to Excedrin capsules only. The product is also sold in tablet forms.

The FDA's Young said, of the 56 capsules remaining in the 60-capsule bottle found in Snow's home, "a considerable number" contained cyanide.

"I would guess we would find at least nine that were tainted," he said.

Young said Snow and her husband were believed to have each taken two capsules. The husband was uninjured, he said.

He said that FDA investigators had already examined 60-capsule bottles pulled from 29 stores in the Seattle area, where Auburn is located, and have since begun looking at all 40-capsule bottles.

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