On Tuesday, July 16th, pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson triumphantly reported that its earnings for the second quarter of 2013 were more than twice that of the same period last year. According to a New York Times article, these increased earnings were largely due to “strong sales of prescription drugs” and revenue from selling off one of its overseas assets in Ireland, as well as its diversified product line.
The next day, Johnson & Johnson – which faces massive litigation for manufacturing and selling allegedly harmful products that include its over-the-counter analgesic Tylenol (implicated in liver damage) and Ethicon's pelvic slings wound up paying out almost $23 million to settle an investor lawsuit, alleging that the company failed to “maintain quality standards” for children's over-the-counter medications – and withheld this information in order to protect the company's image. The ultimate result was a massive recall of these products, which the U.S. Food and Drug Administration described as the largest such recall in the government agency's history. The recall did not include what a New York Times reporter described as a “phantom recall” of Motrin (ibuprofen, another non-aspirin pain reliever), in which J & J hired outside contractors to secretly remove these products from pharmacy shelves.
The recall had a negative effect on the value of J&J shares in 2010, which triggered the litigation on the part of investors.
J & J agreed to the settlement in order to “avoid the expense, distraction and time associated with continuing litigation,” according to a company spokesperson, who insists that the plaintiff's claims are “without merit.”
Dye, Jessica. “Johnson & Johnson Agrees to Pay $22.9 Million to End Recall Lawsuit.” Chicago Tribune, 17 July 2013.
N/A.”Johnson & Johnson to Pay $22.9 Million to Settle Product Recall Lawsuit.” New Statesman, 18 July 2013.
Thomas, Katie. “Johnson & Johnson Profit Rises on Strong Prescription Sales.” New York Times, 16 July 2013.
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