Johnson & Johnson

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In 2002, Ralph Larsen, CEO of Johnson & Johnson (J&J) Company retired and the quality control of this very stable company began to deteriorate. "His basic drumbeat was ... first and foremost, we're going to conduct business the right way," recalls a former McNeil VP. "And if we can't succeed, we'll exit” (Kimes, 2010). This particular leader had been the CEO of J & J since 1996 and the CEO before him also had the same moral code of ethics. There are not enough facts explaining why the demand for costs cutting outweighed protecting the health of our children. The effects of unethical practices from corporate leaders can reach beyond the scope of their employees and influence the well-being and safety of the populace as well as the environment (Mayr, 2012). Maybe they did not look at it from a parents’ perspective or assumed they would get away with it. There were many decisions made to increase productivity without regard to quality assurance. This company has been manufacturing drugs for over a decade and after its scare in 1982, they were considered a family-oriented company that was very strict when it came to packaging. After many inspections, a lot of 483s (a critical report card produced after an inspection ), J & J ended up recalling 136 million bottles of children’s Motrin, Tylenol, Benadryl, and Zyrtec along with many other recalls to come.

When a brand is demolished publically, it may never stand a chance again in today’s’ market. I have been a user of this brand for the past eight years and my parents are probably the ones that had it in the house growing up. We have seen its logo for years and consider it a “brand we can trust”, but after researching this may not be the case anymore. What makes it worse about the whole thing is the CEO now, Bill Weldon, is not making him known to the public nor is the company. You would think that they would hold their head up, be held accountable for their mistakes, be honest and do everything at their disposal to fix the problem.  "At every step in this process J&J has not been transparent," says Don Riker, a consultant to OTC drug companies. "Every bit of information is cagey, secretive, and micromanaged." If they want to sustain any credibility with their consumers, they have to be open and honest about what is going on.

Apparently, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had be undergoing inspections at J & J since 1996 that began with a warning letter which condemned McNeil’s (McNeil Consumer Healthcare, the J&J division that makes over-the-counter (OTC) drugs) manufacturing and testing processes. Anytime a plant was reprimanded with a 483, they did not treat it with severity, which would bring the FDA back for another inspection.  The team that tested the production lines was dubbed the "EZ Pass system," according to a former quality-control employee (Kimes, 2010). What is so disturbing is the employees in control of products that sits on millions of shelves distributed to millions of children are considered the “easy place” to work in the plant. Their accounts depict a division, McNeil, that has undergone a wrenching cultural change, and a quality-assurance department that crumbled as its mistakes were overlooked -- at times, some former employees say, deliberately (Kimes, 2010).

At the end of 2006, they were on the hunt for a jump in revenue and growth. They landed a huge merger with the manufacturers of Sudafed which would also be the first year Zyrtec would hit the shelves as their drug. This acquisition also was to save McNeil over 100 million in sales for 2007. These changes caused the company to continue to get in over their heads in unethical decisions made by CEO, Bill Weldon along with other high ranking employees.

According to tax records filed with White marsh Township, where Fort Washington is located, McNeil's workforce in the township was slashed by about 32% between 2005 and 2009. The biggest cuts,...
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