"Denial" is not a river flowing through Egypt – but the Kings of Denial, like the ancient pharaohs, seem to consider themselves gods, not subject to human standards of ethics and compassion. One could say they also operate above the law – but sadly, in many cases, their actions are completely legal, thanks to legislation bought and paid for over the past several years by corporate lobbyists.
Not all, however. According to a recent particle published by Reuters, Johnson & Johnson – DePuy's parent company and at one time, "one of the most trusted brands in America" – has issued recalls on over fifty products. In some of these cases, the way these recalls were carried out has sparked attention from Congress and even criminal investigators.
As far as the current issue with the ASR Hip Implants is concerned, the author of the Reuters article says the same thing as I and others have been saying for years: it's all about putting profits above human safety. If it's cheaper to pay out a few wrongful death lawsuits rather than correct a problem, so be it.
Of course, DePuy (to whom "your safety and health are important – or so they claim on their corporate website) insists that their handling of claims is designed to "assist patients and health care providers as efficiently as possible," according to Lorie Gawreluk, Vice-President of Worldwide Communications at Johnson & Johnson. DePuy is of course hiding behind another company, called Broadspire, which it has contracted to deal with the situation. David Prince, a professor at the William Mitchell College of Law, was quoted as saying that "by pawning this process off on a third party, they don't have to deal face to face with patients, and may be less sensible to the human cost of what their product has done."
Meanwhile, one of the casualties of the litigation – former DePuy CEO David Floyd, who resigned last March in the wake of the implant recall and resulting litigation, has landed himself a nice little plumb job with another orthopedics company, OrthoWorx.
During the Second World War (stay with me, there's relevance here), a Naval convoy was transporting then-U.S. President aboard the battleship USS Iowa. A torpedo was accidentally launched from the destroyer USS William Potter, nearly hitting the Iowa. Following an investigation, the commander, Wilfred Walker, was summarily transferred to the remote Aleutian Islands for the duration - and his naval career was essentially over.
Although Commander Walker did not launch the torpedo, he was held responsible for the actions of his crew – and disciplined accordingly.
The game is different in today's corporate America, particularly among the new elite rulers of the world. As the head of the company, a CEO should have some accountability in regards to product liability. Instead, these new "Masters of the Universe" destroy lives through the manufacture and sale of dangerous products, and then move on to another high-powered, high paid position.
That is in stark contrast to the rest of us working stiffs, who often pay a stiff penalty for the rest of our working lives for making such mistakes.
N/A. "Insight: DuPuy's Handling of Hip Recall Sparks Questions." Reuters, 22 August 2011.
Staff Writer. Former DePuy Orthopaedics CEO Floyd Lands With OrthoWorx." MassDevice, 6 September 2011.
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