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Johnson & Johnson in Competition with Purdue Pharma for Worst Corporation of 2010Marianne Skolek Salem-News.com
Johnson & Johnson, responsible for the rebuilding of the City of New Brunswick -- not to mention a renowned medical center in New Brunswick being renamed the Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital -- has had its fine name tarnished.
(MYRTLE BEACH, S.C.) - In the last couple of weeks, J & J was charged by the US Justice Department with paying millions of dollars in kickbacks to Omnicare, the nation’s largest pharmacy that specializes in dispensing drugs to nursing home patients, so its Risperdal antipsychotic medication would be widely prescribed.
Pharmalot addressed this situation in a recent article.
In addition, the FDA slapped J & J's wrists for failing to diligently and expediently follow up complaints that batches of its Tylenol Arthritis Relief Caplets had a musty smell. See a copy of the FDA letter sent to J & J as well as a report issued on January 8 by the FDA. FDA letter FDA enforcement report.
I grew up in New Brunswick, N.J. and had friends who were employed by J & J -- very proudly employed by J & J. The credo of the huge pharmaceutical company hangs in the lobby of their headquarters attesting to their high standards of operation.
Many of us remember the 1982 Tylenol murders in Chicago when seven people died after taking pain-relief Tylenol capsules which had been laced with potassium cyanide. The incident led to reforms in the packaging of over the counter medication as well as federal anti-tampering laws.
The case remains unsolved and no suspects have been charged. A reward, offered by Johnson & Johnson for the capture and conviction of the "Tylenol Killer," has never been claimed.
Johnson & Johnson was praised by the media at the time for its handling of the incident. The company took aggressive action by removing Tylenol from the shelves and reintroduced their product in a new, triple-sealed package, using heavy consumer promotions. This marketing strategy, coupled with concern for safety of the consumer, resulted in Tylenol becoming the most popular over-the-counter pain reliever in the U.S.
Doesn't look good for this pharmaceutical company with a stellar reputation to be in the same league as Purdue Pharma, maker of OxyContin. Both companies have put the lives of the consumer at risk -- Johnson & Johnson with an over the counter pain medication and Purdue Pharma with their criminal marketing of OxyContin which continues to result in an epidemic of death and addiction throughout the U.S. and Canada. So how do these two shameful corporations try to regain the trust of the American consumer. Why not send contributions to the earthquake victims in Haiti? Good press and may unmuddy the waters for them. One company seems to be very proficient at turning a "bad situation" into a bid for restoring their sterling name -- and the other? Well you be the judge.
Johnson & Johnson is sending aid to Haiti in the form of cash -- although I have not seen the amount being sent published in the media. They are also sending needed health care products and over-the-counter products.
Purdue Pharma announced this week in a PR statement that they are donating close to $5 million in pharmaceutical products to aid the victims of the earthquake in Haiti -- and they are making a whopping $25,000 cash donation to AmeriCares and the American Red Cross to support the relief efforts -- as well as employee matching donations. A $10 billion pharmaceutical corporation is making a $25,000 cash donation.
But I'm sure the $5 million in pharmaceutical products more than makes up for their token heart rendering gesture of $25,000.
If you're curious as to what products Purdue Pharma would be donating to one of the poorest countries in the world devastated by an earthquake, no it's not OxyContin which surprised me -- it is Betadine Surgical Scrub and Ryzolt (tramadol HCl extended-release tablets).
Here are the precautions listed on the labeling of Ryzolt. Ryzolt should not be prescribed for patients who are suicidal or addiction-prone and Ryzolt can be abused by breaking, crushing, chewing or dissolving the drug which can result in the uncontrolled delivery of the opioid and poses a significant risk of overdose and death. This risk is increased with concurrent abuse of alcohol and other substances.
I recognize that the people in Haiti are suffering not only in physical pain, but emotional pain. They should not be denied any pain delivery medication. My problem is the messenger who is delivering the product -- Purdue Pharma. Maybe they should further offer the American Red Cross addiction treatment centers staffed by physicians to treat the Haitians when their nightmare only continues after the earthquake.
As if these poster children for bad pharmaceutical companies isn't bad enough, I will close with Rush Limbaugh's words this week regarding the tragedy and destruction of human life in Haiti. "Our military is nothing more than meals on wheels" in the U.S. humanitarian efforts to these devastated people. Coming from the OxyContin Guru who doesn't look like he has missed a meal in many a year, what goes around comes around. In the meantime, someone please pass Rush a Big Mac -- if his mouth is full, he won't be able to talk -- and we'll be spared his callous comments.
Salem-News.com Reporter Marianne Skolek, is an Activist for Victims of OxyContin throughout the United States and Canada. In July 2007, she testified against Purdue Pharma in Federal Court in Virginia at the sentencing of their three CEO's who pled guilty to charges of marketing OxyContin as less likely to be addictive or abused to physicians and patients. She also testified against Purdue Pharma at a Judiciary Hearing of the U.S. Senate in July 2007. Marianne works with government agencies and private attorneys in having a voice for her daughter Jill, who died in 2002 after being prescribed OxyContin, as well as the voice for scores of victims of OxyContin. She has been involved in her work for the past 7-1/2 years and is currently working on a book that exposes Purdue Pharma for their continued criminal marketing of OxyContin.
Marianne is a nurse, having graduated in 1991 as president of her graduating class. She also has a Paralegal certification. Marianne served on a Community Service Board for the Courier News, a Gannet newspaper in NJ writing articles predominantly regarding AIDS patients and their emotional issues. She was awarded a Community Service Award in 1993 by the Hunterdon County, NJ HIV/AIDS Task Force in recognition of and appreciation for the donated time, energy and love in facilitating a Support Group for persons with HIV/AIDS.
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