The perpetrators of the crime have never been found, and that's due in part to the ease in which they were able to kill seven random people. All that was involved was taking a bottle off the shelf, opening it, inserting a number of cyanide laced capsules, then screwing the cap back on and putting it back on the shelf for the next person who came along to purchase it. In the wake of those seven deaths, an unprecedented recall was undertaken, a groundbreaking PR campaign was launched, and measures were taken that would forever change the way we consume medication.
ProPublica.org and This American Life partnered for a special report on acetaminophen (also known as paracetamol), the active ingredient in Tylenol, which is also found in many other over-the-counter medications. The narrow therapeutic index of acetaminophen means that often, the difference between safe use and overdose can be as small as one gram. From ProPublica.org: "About 150 Americans die a year by accidentally taking too much acetaminophen, the active ingredient in Tylenol, federal data from the CDC shows."
How Corporations Corrupt Science at the Public's Expense: Report looks at methods of corporate abuse, suggests steps toward reform [Full Report (PDF)] [Executive Summary (PDF)] [more inside]
Studies Suggest an Acetaminophen-Asthma Link. When aspirin was linked to Reye's syndrome in children during the 1980s, the resulting increase in acetaminophen use may have had some negative effects. "...there is now a plausible explanation for how acetaminophen might provoke or worsen asthma, a chronic inflammatory condition of the lungs. Even a single dose of acetaminophen can reduce the body’s levels of glutathione, a peptide that helps repair oxidative damage that can drive inflammation in the airways, researchers have found."