Late last week, Johnson & Johnson ceo Bill Weldon issued a statement in the form of aJNJBTW blog post in which he offers a mea culpa, of sorts, for the most recent product recall. The latest episode involved quality-control problems that affected about 40 over-the-counter meds for infants and children, including Tylenol (here's the FDA report), and followed an equally embarassing gaffe in which J&J failed to vigorously and properly follow up complaints that certain batches of its Tylenol Arthritis Relief Caplets had a musty smell ( FDA report here). Congress is now launching a probe ( see here).
In his remarks, Weldon writes that "the recent recalls of some over-the-counter medicines from our McNeil Consumer Healthcare operating company are a matter of great concern. They are a disappointment to me...I have been assured that the chance of a serious medical event from the recalled products is remote. Even so, this does not give us comfort; one of our companies has let you down." He is referring to McNeil Consumer Healthcare.
The first round of negative publicity over a J&J recall seems to have left the company unscathed. In fact, J&J claimed the top spot for the second consecutive year as the most reputable US company on Reputation Institute’s 2010 U.S Reputation Pulse, which was conducted in January and February (see this). Perhaps this is because J&J is a big company, the pharmaceutical industry is a big industry and manufacturing blunders will happen (as do government investigations - see the list). Or perhaps the Toyota news simply overshadowed everything else concerning product recalls.
Now, though, the Toyota headlines have receded and J&J's latest screw up is gaining more attention, especially since J&J was once held up as the corporate model for dealing with a crisis after the 1982 Tylenol scare. Weldon must think so or he wouldn't have signed his name to the post, which is, essentially, an attempt to shore up the credibility of the famed J&J credo that touts corporate responsibility to customers, employees and investors. And the recent 25 percent sales drop in over-the-counter products in the US may also weigh on his mind (see here). But how worried should Weldon be? What do you think?
Will these problems hurt J&J's reputation?
- Yes (70%, 66 Votes)
- No (30%, 28 Votes)
Total Voters: 94