Business Ethics Case Study - Tylenol

1406 Words Apr 22nd, 2012 6 Pages
Tylenol

The background

In 1982, Johnson & Johnson (J&J) faced a major crisis that had the potential to send the company into financial ruin. Tylenol, the country’s most successful over-the-counter product, with over one hundred million users, was under attack.

The crisis

Sealed bottles were tampered with and extra-strength Tylenol capsules were replaced with cyanide-laced capsules. These bottles were then resealed and placed on shelves of pharmacies in the Chicago area. Seven people died as a result. Tylenol was called upon to explain why its product was killing people.

The solutions

The company first learned of the deaths from a local news reporter. A medical examiner had just given a press conference saying people were
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– They issued a national alert telling the public not to use the product. – They set up a 1-800 phone line so people could call in with questions and concerns. – They established a toll-free line for news outlets. This line also included taped daily updates. – They held press conferences at corporate headquarters and set up a live television videofeed via satellite to New York. – The chairman went on “60 Minutes” and the “Donahue” show to share the company’s strategy.

• They offered answers. – J&J presented an industry first — triple-safety-seal packing that included a glued outer box, a plastic seal over the bottle’s neck, and a foil seal over the bottle’s mouth. Tylenol released the tamper-resistant packaging just six months after the crisis occurred.

What could Tylenol have done wrong?

• They could have put their interest first: – They could have covered the incident. – They could have not immediately recall the product • They could have tried to keep the incident away from the media. – And even when the situation continued drawing national and international attention, they could have held off on any formal plan. • They could have been reluctant to offering information about the crisis. – They could have hidden from the press or press…