J&J Fails Crisis Management

Jonathan Bernstein crisis management, Crisis Prevention, Crisis Response, reputation management, risk assessment

Johnson and Johnson’s 1982 Tylenol recall set a precedent for effective crisis management, laying out the guidelines of communication, cooperation and transparency. Because of this, it comes as a surprise that they recently strayed from their practices by failing to react to customer complaints or FDA questioning about many of their various brands for months. A NY Times article has the details:

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, the warning letter said.

With batches of nearly every popular J&J medicine now being recalled, the company’s mismanagement of the issue is causing serious damage to a previously sterling reputation.  Lesson:  NEVER rely strictly on your past reputation to protect you from today’s faux pas.

The BCM Blogging Team