Friday, September 10, 2010

Pharmalot: Killing Snakes with Bad Tylenol

Pharmalot has a great suggestion for the J&J CEO to turn the recent recalls into a win-win.

Ed Silverman in his September 8th blog titled, Snake in the Grass, J&J Can Recoup Tylenol Losses, has come up with a novel way to turn this bad situation by donating the recalled Tylenol to the U.S. military for “a perfectly good cause”.

Apparently the U.S. military has come up with a solution for their invasive brown tree snake problem at their naval base in Guam. They have discovered that snakes die when they consume acetaminophen. They now are proposing dropping mice fed with acetaminophen from a helicopter into the jungles surrounding the base…

As Mr. Silverman so eloquently elaborates:

Snakes, after all, do not care if their Tylenol smells musty or contains metallic flecks. Grind ‘em up, feed ‘em to the mice, drop the mice in the jungle and, voila, no snakes. And for Weldon, no embarrassing trips to the landfill.

“The discovery that snakes will die when they eat acetaminophen was a huge step forward,” Anne Brooke, conservation resources program manager for Naval Facilities Command Marianas, tells Stars and Stripes “The problem was how you get the snakes to eat it.”

Putting Guam aside for a moment, this could be the public relations coup that Weldon so desperately needs. Rather than sheepishly dispose of millions of Tylenol tabs in the middle of the night, he and his new quality control team can be photographed proudly donating the poorly made goods to an effort that serves vital US interests. And best of all - J&J may be able to realize a tax break in the process. How’s that for leadership possibilities?

I guess if you are the CEO of J&J you have to take the lampooning when under your watch, your company so thoroughly botches quality control and the subsequent attempt to cover its tracks from the consumer and the government.

Clearly the entire situation is a cautionary tale for the entire supply chain. Thankfully for all, the only fatalities to this recall, other than some careers and stock portfolios, will be to the population of the brown tree snake in Guam.

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