I recently received a comment to one of my J&J postings that I want to address. As I’ve previously discussed, J&J has enlisted former employees who remember the “good old days” to challenge the company’s negative news. No doubt, it was one of those former employees who still, foolishly, believes in the Credo that contacted me. This J&J operative claims that I’m only writing about J&J’s ongoing woes because I’m shorting J&J’s stock and I’m trying to “create bad news for the company.” I want to address this.
First, I’m not creating anything. J&J is the one who has developed a culture of contamination and inferior quality. I did not contaminate J&J’s products with 2,4,6-tribromoanisole. I did not contaminate J&J’s products with metal shards that can cut the inside of people’s mouths. I did not create a culture at the company where short-term profits are valued over patient safety. I did not send J&J’s CEO William Weldon into hiding, where he refuses to show his face and stand for accountability. J&J did this to itself and I had nothing to do with it.
Second, as for my investments, let me say this – I have never taken a direct financial position in J&J (either long or short). When I was younger, I indirectly owned J&J shares via mutual funds. At my age now, I find the volatility and risk of equity securities to be more than I’m willing to take. I’m more concerned with the long view and leaving something to my grandkids. So no, I have no financial stake in what happens to J&J (not even the pleasant side wager with the guys over at the Legion Hall).
Third, this individual claims that I’m just some bitter ex-J&J employee and started this blog to bash the company. I started Pharm Aid in February 2007, long before J&J’s manufacturing deficiencies came to light. I’ve written on hundreds of topics – only a small percentage of them are about J&J (although most of my writings recently are about the company that claims to be one of the most respected in the world and how it is endangering patient’s lives). And yes, I’ve even written many positive articles about J&J – when the company hasn’t been shooting itself in the foot.
To make my opinions clear – I actually like J&J, however, I think they have given a huge black eye to the entire industry. I think they not only deserve a Consent Decree, I think J&J needs one ASAP in order to protect public safety (something they company hasn’t been too concerned with over the last few years). And I think J&J’s Board of Directors needs to stand up and finally say, “We made a mistake, CEO William Weldon’s vision and actions are not in line with the Credo and he’s fired. From this day forward, J&J will no longer endanger patients.” Given how thoroughly the culture of Weldon has permeated J&J, I’m not looking for this to happen anytime soon, but it’s the next necessary step.
I keep waiting for Johnson & Johnson to surprise me – to clean up its act, to fix its chronic manufacturing woes and stop recalling products, and to start behaving ethically. I’m an old man, but I hope it happens in my lifetime. J&J has a rich history and has been a part of America for generations. I’d like to see that continue. But I don’t hold out much hope under the current regime.