Has Johnson & Johnson Become Dumb & Dumber or Just Lax and Laxer?

Submitted by Mark Esposito, Guest Blogger

Even free marketeer Republicans are sick of it – literally. Rep. Darrell Issa, (R., Calif.),   has asked U.S. regulators to look into J & J’s use of a contract manufacturer to make Rolaids antacids that were recalled for quality problems. Issa has requested a probe of J & J product and identified the contract manufacturer as Best Sweet, a Mooresville, N.C., maker of confectionary-based consumer health-care products.

What has happened to the rock-solid reputation of  medicine producer, Johnson & Johnson, and its consumer arm, McNeil Consumer Healthcare. Once the paragon of U.S. corporate efficiency and product integrity, the company was rocked in the 1980’s by the Tylenol tampering cases that were arguably not of its own making.  J & J took immediate action to remove the product from the shelves and protect the public as well as the brand.  Tylenol  came roaring back, and even the Washington Post gushed, “Johnson & Johnson has effectively demonstrated how a major business ought to handle a disaster.”  Lately though,  the consumer giant has had suffered an incredible string of failures and missteps under CEO, William Weldon.

Here’s a list of the product recalls since 2002:

Children’s and infants’ liquid Tylenol products, Tylenol Arthritis Pain Caplets, Benadryl Allergy, Tylenol Extra Strength, Tylenol, Tylenol PM, Children’s Tylenol Meltaway, Motrin IB, Rolaids and St. Joseph’s aspirin.

The recalls also include professional samples of Infants’ Tylenol, Infants’ Motrin and Children’s Zyrtec, along with regular consumer Children’s Tylenol, Children’s Zyrtec and Zyrtec Itchy eye-drops; another recall of children’s and infants’ Tylenol liquid products, Tylenol 8 Hour Caplets, Children’s Benadryl Allergy FASTMELT, Junior Strength Motrin Caplets, Rolaids Extra Strength Softchews, certain Tylenol Cold Multi-Symptom liquid products, as well as certain Mylanta liquid products and one AlternaGel Liquid product.

In 2008, J & J hired consultants to buy up 88,000 packages of Motrin to avoid public disclosure of problems with the compund. Then the FDA shutdown its Fort Washington, Pennsylvania plant for production deficiencies. Recently, things have gotten even worse. In August of this year, 93,000 artificial hips were recalled because of premature failures of the appliance. What could possibly be going on?

No one can say for sure why the often-emulated quality control procedures of Johnson & Johnson have failed so miserably since 2002, but it may be no coincidence that George W. Bush and his gang of de-regulators started guarding the consumer henhouse in 2000.

Source:  Mad Money, By Jim Cramer

~Mark Esposito, Guest Blogger

30 thoughts on “Has Johnson & Johnson Become Dumb & Dumber or Just Lax and Laxer?”

  1. When it rains it pours:

    J&J found liable in Pa. drug pricing suit

    Attorney General Tom Corbett said today that New Jersey-based Johnson & Johnson Inc. has been found liable to Pennsylvania for nearly $52 million in damages and civil penalties for falsely reporting the prices of its drugs.

    Commonwealth Court Judge Robin Simpson rendered the verdict on Dec. 7, following a five-week trial in Easton. In 2004, according to Corbett, the office of the Attorney General sued Johnson & Johnson and several of its subsidiaries, as well as 14 other drug companies, for allegedly manipulating a pricing benchmark known as Average Wholesale Price, or AWP. According to the lawsuits, Johnson & Johnson and the other drug manufacturers inflated AWP above the true average of wholesale prices in order to increase drug sales and profits.

    “We are pleased with the court’s decision dismissing the majority of the claims brought by the Commonwealth,” Johnson & Johnson spokesman Michael Heinley said today. “We respectfully disagree with the court’s provisional finding under the Pennsylvania Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law and intend to pursue our arguments through motions before the court during the next phase of this case.” – Suzette Parmley

    Read more: http://www.philly.com/inquirer/breaking/business_breaking/20101217_J_J_found_liable_in_Pa__drug_pricing_suit.html#ixzz18TBPa

  2. Blouise,

    A lil’ something special for you . . .


  3. J & J subsidiaries have been forced to pay $81 million in fines, recently, for their illegal/unethical promotion of but one rainmaker drug – Topamax – which has raked in just about $5 BILLION for them.

    Meanwhile, Pfizer is writing checks to pay off the largest drug-related fine in history – $2.3 Billion.

    Glaxo-Smith-Kline? 3/4s of a Billion.

    Elan Corp? About $203 million (dangerous promotion of Zonegran)

    Eli Lilly? Bristol Myers? Billions more.

    Here’s how federal prosecutor Michael Loucks describes it:

    “At the very same time Pfizer was in our office negotiating and resolving the allegations of criminal conduct in 2004, Pfizer was repeating the same crimes with another drug, even as the ink was drying on their promise to cease the criminal practice.” Loucks, 54, says. “They’ve repeatedly marketed drugs for things they knew they couldn’t prove safe. That’s clearly criminal.”

    No matter. At their level, they live in the rarified air of a world where morality is lost in the profit margins, and billion-dollar fines are acceptable costs of doing business.

    And we, the sheeple, ridiculously allow these clowns to retain their seats at the adult table.

    But in the meantime,

    “Ask your doctor if yet another spoonful of horseshit is right for you.”

  4. FFLEO,

    I know what you mean about the crap out of China … even if the merchandise is assembled here, many of the internal parts come from that crap producing country.

  5. Buddha Is Laughing
    1, December 17, 2010 at 11:57 pm

    Yes, sir. An AK in every workers hand and a pitbull on PCP in every pickup truck. Now that’s must see TV.


    That’s the answer to all this free market crap … what a conundrum for the conservatives … a free market and the NRA … which will it be? How much you want to bet that if each worker had an AK the conservatives would be screaming for regulations on the plant floor.

    I think you guys come up with the best ideas right around mid-night!

    Honest to god, I really like it … but then I’m a union person through and through … yep, one of them.

  6. Part of the reason is probably the way that whistleblowers of all sorts are being treated in courts. I read in the WSJ law blog that even whistleblowers with lawyers get no relief. Potential whistleblowers within corporations have problems getting lawyers because past whistleblower cases were dragged out going nowhere. Pro se litigants “lose” 99.999%, usually without any evidentiary hearing or evidentiary findings; their cases are simply “dismissed”. Not only that but they are subjected to huge fines designed to bankrupt them without any findings of fraud (called attorney fee shifting) and if PRO SE litigants try to get a second opinion from a different judge they are subject to summary imprisonment without criminal procedure — according to DOJ, there is no requirement for PRO SE litigants to receive a criminal complaint or written criminal information about a law they might have broken and probable cause. Apparently, the USMS believes that PRO SE litigants aren’t entitled to arraignment or bail hearings because PRO SE’s are sub par human beings who must be stopped from filing in federal courts.

    So basically no one who knows anything about problems with any industry will or should risk their lives and their home and income to report it, because the federal district courts control their dockets by picking the cases they want to hear.

  7. BIL:

    I’ve found an incredibly fine show on tru-TV embodying those lofty virtues. It’s called “Southern Fried Stings” about a roving gang of ex-cop southern PI’s who solve all manner of problems for lucky people. Oh, the fine characters they meet! If you haven’t seen it, please do. You’ll find paradise in 24 minutes or less:


  8. Well, doggonehit Mespo, I had to look up what that was and the durn wiki was 1/2 chinaman script!

  9. FFLeo:

    Lots of good things out of China that won’t break: Kung Pao Chicken to name just one!

  10. mespo,

    Yes, sir. An AK in every workers hand and a pitbull on PCP in every pickup truck. Now that’s must see TV.

  11. Nothing I purchase nowadays has quality. I bought a new Ford SUV 5 years ago to ‘buy American’ and many of he parts are Hecho en Mexico. When I purchase plumbing products they are all made in China and start leaking within 5 years. I purchased $80.00 worth of outdoor solar lights last week (Made in China) and they do not work. The new Lithium Iron Phosphate batteries leaked and corroded the metal contacts and the surrounding plastic housing. I found this out after I gave them 3 full days of sunlight charging and installed the solar panel atop a 22-foot tower. I went to the website posted in in owners manual and the site is *in China* and there is no information whatsoever regarding the solar lights I purchased.

    I could go on and on…however, at my age, I should watch my blood pressure.

  12. BIL:

    “But everyone knows a free market GUARANTEES that the manufacturers are looking out for the consumer’s best interests!”


    Now, if we could just arm everyone at that J & J plant with AK-47’s, we’d have the best of all possible worlds there, wouldn’t we Dr. Pangloss?

  13. But everyone knows a free market GUARANTEES that the manufacturers are looking out for the consumer’s best interests!


  14. For a premier Teapublican like Issa, J & J must have really screwed up. I wonder if J & J stiffed Issa for a donation and this is “payback”? Just wondering….

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