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Business Ethics Case Study - Tylenol

In: Business and Management

Submitted By tzatze
Words 1406
Pages 6

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 dying from poisoned Tylenol. Tylenol had to act fast.

What did Tylenol do right?

It is difficult to imagine how else should have Johnson and Johnson reacted at the time of the crisis except the following ways:

• Recalling all the products whether contaminated or not.
• Alerting all the customers by all available media including toll-free hotlines.
• Appearance of the chairman of the company on the television to publicize the company’s response and action taken by it to combat the emergency.
• Making public relations programmes to address the issues and concerns all the internal and external stakeholders.

• J&J put customer safety first. – Company Chairman James Burke immediately formed a seven-member strategy team with the goal of determining how best to protect people, and then, how to save the product. Their first action was to alert consumers nationwide. – They pulled all advertising and immediately stopped production of the product. – After finding two more contaminated bottles, the company ordered a national withdrawal of every capsule. (This showed that no matter the...

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