Thursday, January 21, 2010

New York Times: In Recall, a Role Model Stumbles

Natasha Singer writes an excellent article in the January 17th issue of the New York Times regarding the recent management of a sweeping product recall by McNeil Consumer Healthcare, a division of Johnson & Johnson.

In this article, Ms. Singer explores how a company with the reputation of Johnson & Johnson, who is seen as the “gold standard” of crisis management, seemingly botches this most recent issue of product contamination within the supply chain.

Secure Chain Pharma Chain Blog has reported extensively on this particular recall and believes that this incident, which is based on onsite product contamination, energizes the need for material screening of products within the supply chain to protect consumers from fraud, adulteration, contamination and counterfeit products.

The following is an excerpt of the Ms. Singer’s article:

The Harvard Business School teaches future executives the gold standard in brand crisis management. The model dictates that a company should communicate clearly with the public about a crisis, cooperate with government officials, swiftly begin its own investigation of a problem and, if necessary, quickly institute a product recall.

The template is based on Johnson & Johnson’s conduct in 1982, when several people died after taking tainted Tylenol pills. The company’s reaction to the crisis is widely regarded as exemplary.

But last week, Johnson & Johnson appeared to abandon its own template, stunning a few business school professors. Its conduct also drew harsh criticism from federal officials.
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.

To read the entire article, visit:

To learn more about technologies which will protect inventories within the supply chain, visit:

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