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Greg Webb
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Johnson & Johnson Responds to Drug Manufacturing Problems

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The CEO of mega-corporation Johnson & Johnson, William C. Weldon, is slated to meet with Congress in order to provide his own telling of manufacturing problems that led to recent recalls. The recalls included products such as Children’s Tylenol and Motrin and involved below-standard conditions at the manufacturing plant in Fort Washington, PA, run by J & J sub-company, McNeill.

The company is taking such a public step in order to hopefully reassure consumers that the brand represents the quality to which it is attributed. Weldon recently stated that his company’s response to the drug manufacturing problems was the “most responsible it could possibly be”.

Some question how high the quality of all J & J companies can be, due to the fact that there are so many different entities. In fact, Johnson & Johnson is made up of over 250 separate units like McNeill. Such a structure can be both a blessing and a curse. On the negative side, such a divided form can allow for oversight, as was the case in the manufacturing issues recently seen.

In response to the flaws that McNeill got away with for so long under the company’s distant watch, “there have been corporate changes to Johnson & Johnson’s oversight of its supply chain and manufacturing. Last month, [Weldon] appointed a longtime company executive to oversee a new system of companywide quality control that involves a single framework for quality across all of the operating units and a new reporting system”. Johnson & Johnson has also taken steps, including the temporary close of the Fort Washington plant, to ensure McNeill is brought up to code. While the corporate change is positive for the quality control of products, the penalty for abuse will now be much higher. The result is appropriate; when one holds the responsibility for their consumers’ well-being in one’s hands, it follows suit that the price for abusing that power is high.