· Bloomberg Businessweek is planning to report a generally negative story on J&J, focused on recent manufacturing, quality and recall matters, including DePuy ASR Hip recall. In conjunction with the story, Bill Weldon interviewed with the reporters to: 1. Provide industry context for our overall quality record 2. Reaffirm commitment to patients and staying tough on quality across the enterprise 3. Outline quality improvements, path forward and confidence in the future of J&J A story about Johnson & Johnson will appear in the next edition of Bloomberg Businessweek magazine and will be available online today. Based on conversations with the reporters, the story will be trying to answer the question “what has happened” to Johnson & Johnson with its recent recalls, lawsuits, regulatory actions, etc. In addition to the McNeil Consumer Healthcare recalls, the story will likely focus on the DePuy ASR hip recalls and analyze the impact that the events of the past year have had on the company's image and brands. In conjunction with this story, Bill Weldon was interviewed late last week and attempted to place our recent recalls in the appropriate industry and J&J context. He responded to criticism of J&J's management of these issues, and stressed the positive ways we are moving ahead to deal with these matters and restore the trust our customers place in J&J products. Below are some of the key messages that Bill conveyed. DePuy responded to additional questions on the DePuy ASR Hip recalls. Patient Health and Safety – Top Priority · Our people work around the clock to ensure that we never have to recall a product and, during the course of our history, Johnson & Johnson companies have an outstanding record of providing patients and consumers with safe and effective products. Setting Context · Our recent issues at McNeil have been a disappointment to all of us, but they are not the norm across our 120 manufacturing facilities. McNeil Consumer Healthcare (MCH) sites represent 3 out 120 internal manufacturing plants. · Each year, we produce billions and billions of product units, and by and large, we do that exceptionally well. A lot of good work has been overshadowed by our issues at MCH. o Last year, hundreds of health authority inspections occurred at J&J companies worldwide, and 96% were completed without identifying significant deficiencies. o In 2010, 19 out of J&J’s 38 recalls reported publicly by the US FDA were MCH. · As you’d expect, the total number of recalls did increase across J&J last year; some, but not all, driven by MCH. Excluding MCH, J&J companies represent a relatively consistent portion of US industry recalls, according the US FDA website, and we are always trying to get better.
Preventing Recalls, Improving Quality · Preventing recalls is everyone’s goal and our businesses work hard to build in quality from the design process onward. · Sometimes quality gets impacted by manufacturing issues, materials, or human error. In those cases, responding quickly and responsibly, and continuously improving our systems and processes, is what becomes most important.
· When voluntary product recalls become necessary, they reflect our commitment to do what’s in the best interest of those who use our products. Clear Path Forward · With our Consent Decree in place for MCH … and the manufacturing changes we are making across the business, we have a clear path forward to getting high-quality product back on the shelves for the mothers, fathers and families who need them. · We will remain tough-minded on quality and continue to take the steps necessary to deliver the high-quality products our customers deserve. Confidence in the Future · We will bounce back. Our people’s commitment … our customers continued faith in J&J … the changes we are implementing in manufacturing … and the innovations we are bringing to the market, give us great confidence.
It is interesting that the tone continues to be more on excuses and positioning statements to the affect of "If you ignore the MCH problems and the fact that we had 38 recalls, we are doing as well as can be expected." Pretty lame if you ask me.
By the way, characterizing the recalls as voluntary is a nice trick. But when the FDA kicks your a$$ and forces a few recalls and then you begin investigating and as a result then you initiate 20 recalls "voluntarily", I don't think you can use that as an example of good internal due diligence. Typical PR spin. Shallow and rather obvious don't you think?