The Tylenol Murders

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Step 1 – Review the case and identify the relevant facts
* On September 10, 1982, Johnson & Johnson management learned that its premier product, extra- strength Tylenol capsules were loaded with cyanide and used as a murder weapon to kill six people and announced it to the public. * Tylenol- producing subsidiary, McNeil Consumer Products Company found themselves at the center of a public relations trauma in which few companies had ever experienced. * At the time of the Tylenol Murder, the product held 35% of the $1 billion analgesic market; the company was never a high profile company in regards to the media. * As soon as the news hit public, Johnson & Johnson immediately opened its doors to the media to give as much information as possible to prevent a panic. * The company did a recall of all extra strength Tylenol capsules which amounted to 31 million bottles at a cost of more than $100 million. * The company telegrammed warnings to doctors, hospitals and distributers and suspended all Tylenol advertising. * A $100,000 reward was posted for the killer or killers. * The company hoped through promising to exchange capsules for tablets, thousands of letters and trade and statements to the media would provide relief to their consumers and public. * A nationwide survey was performed that stated 87% of Tylenol users surveyed said they realized the maker of Tylenol was “not responsible” for the deaths but 61% said they were still unlikely to buy extra-strength Tylenol capsules in the future. * Johnson & Johnson launched an all out media-blitz campaign and held a video conference in New York City on November 11, 1982 to promote extra-strength Tylenol with its new triple-safety-sealed, tamper resistant package. * By the beginning of 1983, Tylenol recaptured an astounding 95% of it’s prior market share. * On February 10, 1986, another woman died taking poisoned capsules of extra-strength Tylenol. Two days later, more poisoned capsules were discovered. * The company declared to cease the production of the capsule form of Tylenol and offered to replace all unused Tylenol capsules with new Tylenol caplets. * The withdrawal of the capsules cost Johnson & Johnson $150 million after taxes. * Even after both tragedies the company and its CEO receives high marks and has one of the most respected corporate reputations in the Nation. Good summary of facts

Step 2 - Determining the Root Problem & Step 3 - Identifying the Problem Components The main challenge that Johnson& Johnson is facing as a company is rebuilding the confidence and trust of the public and the consumers of their products. Johnson & Johnson faced a lot of negative attention after the Tylenol scares from consumers and the public. The negative consequences of the crisis included very hesitant consumers to proceed to purchase Tylenol after the scare even after the products were recalled. Rebuilding the trust and respect of consumers was a difficult task for Johnson & Johnson and they had to take a lot of heat in order to gain their reputation back as being a reputable company. The main problem of the extra strength Tylenol was the manufacturing of the product. The containers that held the capsules were produced so that they were able to be tampered with, in result, allowing people to load the capsules with cyanide. After the first scare, the company created new packaging for the product, including: a triple-safety-seal, tamper resistant packaging, glued flaps on the outer box, a tight neck seal, a strong inner foil seal over the mouth of the product and a warning on the box reading “ Do not use if seals are broken.” Despite these precautions that the company made, a second threat was made to the company February 10, 1986, when more people were reported dying after consuming the capsules. Step 4 - Generating Alternatives

Johnson & Johnson took an ethical approach when dealing...
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