Johnson & Johnson recalls iBots

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

WARREN, N.J. - Johnson & Johnson has issued a voluntary recall on the iBot wheelchair to address problems discovered in the chair’s motor. The problem was discovered during a routine test of a new unit coming off the line.

“When they tested this unit, it spun around in a full circle and fell over,” said Jeff Leebau, a spokesman for J&J.

In the United States, J&J has delivered 36 units since the sensational, stair-climbing wheelchair began rolling off the line in January, said Leebau. Seven iBots have been sold to users in the United Kingdom.

Current iBot users have not reported similar problems with units now in the field. But the company has contacted every user by phone and mail, advising them to stop using the chair until repairs can be performed over the next two to three months.

For consumers who do not have an alternative wheelchair option, Independence Technologies, the J&J subsidiary that handles the iBot, will provide reimbursement for a manual or power replacement.

Independence has ceased making new iBots until the existing fleet of chairs is replaced.

“It’s disappointing, but the company is moving as expeditiously as possible,” said Leebau.