Ethical Problems and Solutions with Tylenol and Enron

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  • Topic: Enron, Ethics, Chicago Tylenol murders
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Ethical Problems and Solutions With Tylenol and Enron |
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Many large corporations are often are faced with ethical issues that determine the success of the company. Two of the most famous companies that were faced with ethical dilemmas was Johnson and Johnson and Enron. One of these companies was able to deal with their ethical dilemma correctly and it saved the company, while the other company did not properly handle its ethical issues and it resulted in the collapse of the company.

In the late 1900’s Johnson and Johnson produced a pain killer called Tylenol. Tylenol was a very successful product in the US. Tylenol was responsible for 19 percent of Johnson & Johnson's corporate profits during the first 3 quarters of 1982. Tylenol was the major leader in the painkiller industry.  

On Wednesday, September 29, 1982 a sick girl in Illinois took an Extra-Strength Tylenol and later on in the evening was sick and rushed to the hospital which pronounced her dead. This girl was one of seven Chicago residents to die after taking the Extra Strength Tylenol. The following day ( Thusday, September 30th) the executives of Tylenol where notified about the crisis. Johnson & Johnson, the maker of Tylenol, were faced with a huge ethical issue, people where dying from their product and they had no idea why, should they pull all of the Tylenol products off the shelf in stores and suffer a major lose? Or should they play it out and see what happens? On Thursday afternoon, Johnson & Johnson announced a recall to all Tylenol bottles that had the code number MC2880. This meant that they had been manufactured at the company's Fort Washington factory. The Fort Washington plant had distributed in to all states east of the Mississippi River. On the same day the executives of Johnson and Johnson immediately alerted consumers across the nation, thought the media, not to consume any type of Tylenol product. On Friday September 31st, one day after the recall another person was found dead from the Tylenol. This person’s Tylenol bottle had the lot number of 1801MA, this lot was not part of Tylenols original recall. Tylenol was now forced to recall all of it Extra Straight Tylenol capsules, which it did.

A major investigation was launched and it was determined that Tylenol capsules had been laced with cyanide. Johnson and Johnson further investigated into the matter and found that the Tylenol bottles hadn't been tampered with at the factories in which they were produced. This meant a person had taken the bottles from store, and filled them with poison and then returned them to stores.

Johnson & Johnson reacted to the crisis swiftly; they launched a massive public relations campaign urging the people not to use Tylenol and pushed stored to take the bottle of the shelves. The company also ordered a national recall of 264,000 bottles of Tylenol. Unlike today in the 1982 it was highly unusual for a company to recall any of their products.

One of Johnson & Johnson's bestselling products was now completely in shambles and many speculated that Johnson and Johnson would never be able to recover from the disaster. However Tylenol was able to recover, Tylenol made preventive measures to prevent anything like this from happening again. Tylenol created a triple seal for all their medications to prevent anyone from tampering with the contents. Tylenol also Set up a 1800 number to give the public updated information and the CEO gave personal messages explaining the problem and what Tylenol did to prevent this from happening again. Tylenol sympathized with the families who lost love one and gave them money and support, even though they ere not directly responsible for the deaths. Because of the their swift actions, sympathy and extremely ethical decision to pull the product of the shelves, within months Tylenol was back on store shelves with a new and improved new safety seal. The recall and...
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