I’ve been on vacation for the last few weeks and was considering giving J&J a pass on this one. Sure, they issued their latest Tylenol right before the Thanksgiving holiday, hoping that consumers wouldn’t find out about it – its par for the course in terms of J&Js recall strategy (and is hardly the kind of ethical behavior one might expect from J&J). I’ve extensively covered all of the dozens of J&J’s recalls over the last year to the point that it seems that I’m beating up on the once-responsible drug maker. But in the end, I felt I needed to write about it. J&J is now refusing to issue press releases on their recalls. J&J is refusing to publish their recalls via the recall Twitter channel. J&J hasn’t blogged about ethics, responsibility, integrity or any of these problems in months. J&J’s strategy seems to be – ignore it and hope that consumers don’t find out about our latest Toxic Tylenol mess.
So, here’s the story – back before Thanksgiving, J&J issued yet another recall for Tylenol over “labeling concerns.” This recall comes just days after the Benadryl and Motrin recall of two weeks ago and accompanies recalls for other J&J products. J&J has now issued dozens of recalls (I’ve completely lost track of what we’re up to). It’s also important to note, that the a recent FDA inspection of the Puerto Rico plant found numerous additional serious violations (and that these violations all occurred AFTER J&J’s CEO William Weldon promised that the company had turned the corner and was focusing on product quality). While J&J management continues to scapegoat its problems on the much-maligned Fort Washington, PA plant, I’ve been arguing for over a year that J&J’s problems are systemic to nearly every J&J plant around the world. J&J has adopted a culture where quality control can (and actually should) be subverted. And senior management at the highest levels gloss over product contamination and quality problems in the interest of stock price.