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Wednesday, October 6, 2010

J&J’s Recent Drug Safety Issues Bring Company’s Reputation into Question

Johnson & Johnson once set the standard among large pharmaceutical companies for how to ethically handle drug safety issues. In 1982, seven people died from consuming Tylenol products which contained cyanide. Rather than trying to cover up the crisis, Johnson & Johnson took the high road: they revealed everything to the public in an attempt to protect the safety of consumers.

As part of this process, Johnson & Johnson established a 24-hour consumer hotline, recalled all Tylenol products, and equipped all future products with a tamper-proof seal. An investigation into the issue revealed that the Tylenol products were laced with cyanide after arriving on store shelves by an individual who had no association to the pharmaceutical company. Once the crisis was controlled, Johnson & Johnson had earned a reputation for putting consumer safety above profits.

A little less than 30 years later, that culture seems to be completely absent among the leaders of Johnson & Johnson. Several recent drug safety issues, and more importantly the pharmaceutical company's response to these problems, have demonstrated that their practices are currently more aligned with the majority of pharmaceutical manufacturers. In other words, they are placing the bottom line above the safety of their consumers.

The most egregious example of Johnson & Johnson's actions involves a phantom recall of defective Motrin products following a discovery late in 2008 that many of these tablets were not dissolving properly. Instead of issuing a recall and informing the general public of these safety issues, Johnson & Johnson hired an independent contractor to secretly purchase all of the defective pharmaceutical products from store shelves. These actions enabled them to recall the product without drawing attention to the safety issues. As a result, individuals taking these defective drugs
were never made aware of the need to discontinue usage. Internal emails clearly indicate that Johnson & Johnson executives were aware of and approved of the phantom recall strategy.

However, there have been other recent safety issues associated with Johnson & Johnson products. Approximately 130 million bottles of children's and infant's liquid medications were recalled, and the FDA closed down several plants which might have allowed products to be contaminated by metal particles or bacteria.

It is truly sad that a pharmaceutical company that was once on the forefront of consumer safety has slipped so far, and it should be a great concern to the millions of people taking their products.

If you have been injured by taking a defective Johnson & Johnson pharmaceutical product, the defective drug attorneys at The Cochran Firm can help you receive compensation for your damages. Please contact us today to schedule your free initial consultation. We serve clients nationwide.


posted by Benjamin A. Irwin at 10:22 AM

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