Johnson & Johnson
Johnson & Johnson has been around since the 19th century. It began
with three brothers who created familiar products that remain popular
today. Band-Aids, baby powder, Tylenol, and Acuvue contacts are a few
of the company’s most famous offerings.
Besides everyday items and drugs, Johnson & Johnson branched out intosurgical
products, including a disposable skin stapler, transvaginal mesh, coronary
stints, and joint implants. Today, this pharmaceutical manufacturer focuses
on global concerns. It uses its vast resources to tackle treatments for
tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS, and other serious infectious diseases.
Verdicts Against Johnson & Johnson
There have been numerous lawsuits filed against Johnson & Johnson.
One of the drugs that caused the most upheaval was Risperdal, an antipsychotic
that lowers dopamine and serotonin levels in the body. Although it treats
a variety of mental disorders, it is known to bring serious side effects,
including gynecomstia. In 2012, an Arkansas judge ordered J&J to pay
$1.2 billion for hiding and minimizing the drug’s health risks.
This came on the heels of a $1 million payout against federal claims of
In 1998, J&J acquired DePuy, maker of the questionable hip implant
devices. The manufacturer was the first to use a metal-on-metal design.
However, when the components rubbed together, metal ions were released
into the bloodstream. These products were investigated by the FDA and
recalled, but they are still subject to litigation. In November 2013,
Johnson & Johnson reached a deal to settle its first lawsuit concerning
its hip implants. A verdict stated the company must pay $8.3 million to
a man who claimed the device he received was defective. Later the same
year, a $2.5 billion settlement was reached to end other state and federal lawsuits.
Johnson & Johnson was forced to fight transvaginal mesh lawsuits as
well. These products were designed to treat stress urinary incontinence
and pelvic prolapse. However, devastating organ perforation, bleeding,
and scarring were often resulting injuries. In 2013, J&J was ordered
to pay $11.1 million to a woman who suffered extensive problems after
having this type of device inserted. The jury tried to send a message
to the company that continues to put profits ahead of consumer safety.
Following the verdict, Johnson & Johnson requested a new trial but
was denied. The judge explained sufficient evidence was presented that
proved Ethicon knew about the mesh’s dangers and marketed it anyway.
Recently, a Supreme Judicial Court ruled in favor of a child who nearly
died after taking children’s Motrin. Johnson & Johnson was sanctioned
to pay $63 million for inadequately warnings patients about the medicine’s
possible negative side effects. This verdict was the largest sum ever
awarded in an individual Massachusetts personal injury case.
Market experts agree Johnson & Johnson’s reputation has taken
a hit from all its legal battles. It may not be too late for injured victims
to file claims. For now, this company remains a strong force in the pharmaceutical
industry, but it needs to clean up its act and go a long stretch without
preventable recalls to overcome its image problems.
Drugs and Medical Devices Recalled Against Johnson & Johnson
Although Johnson & Johnson has been in business for a century, recalls
have been issued against certain products. There have been a few recalls
on Tylenol, its most popular over-the-counter medicine. The first recall
occurred in 1982. Seven people died from consuming Tylenol pills laced
with cyanide. Over 31 million bottles of the medicine were recalled, but
no one was every charged with tampering with any containers. In 2012,
approximately 500,000 bottles of infant Tylenol were recalled due to a
dosing problem. These issues left many consumers with questions about
Johnson & Johnson’s integrity.
Other problems emerged with its power morcellators. Morcellators are devices
used during surgery to make procedures less invasive. In 2014, the manufacturer
asked doctors to return the devices after discovering they may inadvertently
spread cancer in women who are being treated for fibroids. The morcellators
were produced by Ethicon, a division of J&J. Three particular units
being recalled were Gynecare Morcellex, Morcillex Sigma, and Gynecare X-Tract.
Besides its morcellators, Johnson & Johnson faced hip replacement recalls
as well. DePuy Orthopaedics, owned by J&J, recalled the ASR XL Acetabluar
System and ASR Hip Resurfacing System in 2010. According to sources, the
hip implants were twice as likely to fail within five years as compared
to similar hip replacement options. Also, patients with these devices
noted severe pain and swelling at the hip site. Other complications included
walking difficulties, fractures, broken bones, and implant dislocations.
Also under fire is Ethicon’s transvaginal mesh products. Four devices
were the basis of major lawsuits. It was alleged that numerous patients
suffered harm after the mesh was implanted during surgery. J&J contacted
the FDA and explained it would stop offering the questionable products
but asked for 120 days to complete the sales. It also announced it would
adjust the labeling on its other two mesh products, Gynecare and Gynemesh
so that risks were properly explained.
Further problems erupted as Johnson & Johnson recalled one of its Risperdal
pills after testing turned up mold residue. This was after mounting questions
about the drug’s safety. More than 200,000 bottles of infant Motrin
were recalled as well. It was believed these bottles contained tiny plastic
particles. These two recalls were announced close together and raised
many eyebrows about the company’s quality control.
FDA Sanctions Against Johnson & Johnson
Due to numerous concerns of Johnson & Johnson’s morcellators,
the FDA released a communication in April 2014. This warned about risks
of liberating cancerous tumors during laporascopic surgeries. A boxed
warning was also being considered. In the end, J&J recalled the devices.
In October 2008, the FDA began addressing the dangers of J&J’s
transvaginal mesh products. It issued a public health notification that
listed the risks linked to the items. In July 2011, this was revised to
note the high potential for developing serious complications. More vigorous
testing was issued as well. Eventually, Johnson & Johnson agreed to
end sales of some vaginal mesh units and asked the FDA to waive its requirement
for a multi-million dollar safety study.