The Tylenol Murders Are Still Unsolved After Nearly 38 Years


Today it’s a given that medicine and vitamins come with a safety seal, and you have Tylenol to thank for that. Thirty-eight years ago, that wasn’t the case. Medicine bottles just came with a top and a cottonball. There were no elaborate seals to prevent anyone from tampering with the product because it was deemed unnecessary. However, a 3-day scare that centered on Tylenol — the No. 1 nonprescription painkiller in the country — changed the lives of Americans forever. Seven people died over a 3-day span from Sept. 29 to Oct. 1, 1982, all collapsing suddenly after ingesting an Extra-Strength Tylenol pill. A multi-agency investigation found the tampered pills to have been sold on shelves at a variety of stores. In 1983, Congress passed the “Tylenol bill,” making it a federal offense to tamper with consumer products. The FDA also established federal guidelines to make all products tamper-proof. Still, no one has ever been arrested in the case, though it remains an open file with the FBI.