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The New York Times has a piece this morning suggesting that Johnson & Johnson - long the model for corporate responsibility and accountability for how it handled the Tylenol recall back in 1982 - is getting far poorer marks these days for what is being termed a slow, inefficient and ineffective response to new problems with a variety of its medicines.

According to the Times story, “On Friday, McNeil Consumer Healthcare, a division of Johnson & Johnson, announced the recall of several hundred batches of popular over-the-counter medicines, including Benadryl, Motrin, Rolaids, Simply Sleep, St. Joseph Aspirin and Tylenol.

“According to a federal inspection report, the response was anything but swift. The recall came 20 months after McNeil first began receiving consumer complaints about moldy-smelling bottles of Tylenol Arthritis Relief caplets, according to a warning letter sent by the Food and Drug Administration to the company on Friday. Since then, a few people have also reported temporary digestive problems like nausea, vomiting and stomach pain, the agency said.

“The McNeil unit of Johnson & Johnson had recalled some batches of the arthritis drug at the end of 2009. But the company did not conduct a timely, comprehensive investigation, did not quickly identify the source of the problem, and did not notify authorities in a timely fashion, prolonging consumer exposure to the products...”

McNeil is saying that “the breakdown of a chemical used to treat wood pallets that transport and store product packaging was the source of the moldy smell in some products,” the Times reports.
KC's View:
Not sure what happened here, but the reality of such situations is that yesterday’s paradigm of excellence is just that - yesterday’s.

This is a lesson that all businesses need to take to heart. Trust needs to earned every day, and can never be taken for granted. Brand equity only goes so far, and can be corrupted very easily.