January 26th, 2010

Chairman and CEO Bill Weldon Provides Additional Context on the McNeil Recall

During the earnings call earlier today, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Bill Weldon provided some further context around the recent recall announcement by McNeil Consumer Healthcare. In his remarks to financial analysts Bill provided a more detailed account of what the investigation entailed and the complexities of identifying the source of the odor, which I have reprinted here for those who are interested:

“We’re very conscious of the bar we set for ourselves and that consumers expect more from us than from others because of our history and reputation. Our recent consumer product recall and FDA warning letter were important reminders of this expectation and the vigilance it requires. I want to assure you we take these matters very seriously and nothing is more important to us than the health and safety of the people who use our products.

We are undertaking a thorough review of our procedures to ensure that we identify potential improvements we could make moving forward. We believe these and other actions we are taking will address the concerns that the FDA raised in its warning letter, and we are working in close consultation with them.

When McNeil Consumer Healthcare first received some complaints on a “musty” odor associated with our products in 2008, the company conducted a microbiological investigation to check for the presence of bacteria and mold, which would be consistent with the presence of the odor.

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January 18th, 2010

More on that McNeil Consumer Healthcare Recall

Since the news of the McNeil Consumer Healthcare recall was announced last week, some questions have come up about the timing of the recall in light of when the company first became aware of the complaints about a “musty” odor.

At JNJBTW we try, whenever possible, to provide additional perspective around activities that are taking place at Johnson & Johnson. Since I’ve now learned a few things about the McNeil Consumer Healthcare recall, I thought I would pass this information on to you.

When McNeil Consumer Healthcare first received some complaints of a “musty” odor in 2008, the company conducted a microbiological investigation to check for the presence of bacteria and mold, which would be consistent with the presence of the odor. No bacteria or mold was found and it was determined that the complaints were likely an isolated issue.

When similar complaint trends were identified in 2009, the company initiated further investigation and analytical testing and determined that the reported uncharacteristic odor is caused by trace amounts of a chemical called 2,4,6-tribromoanisole (TBA) – which, as the company explained in its press release, “can result from the breakdown of a chemical that is sometimes applied to wood that is used to build wood pallets that transport and store product packaging materials.”

McNeil Consumer Healthcare is continuing to investigate this complex matter.

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January 18th, 2010

McNeil Recall

I just wanted to make sure that those looking for last week’s announcement from Johnson & Johnson’s McNeil Consumer Healthcare company could get to their announcement and their information about the recall. As some of you may know, last week, in consultation with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, McNeil Consumer Healthcare, Division of McNeil-PPC, Inc., a Johnson & Johnson company, announced a voluntary recall of certain over-the-counter products in North America, Central America and the Caribbean. For those interested in the details of this announcement, including the product lots involved, you should visit McNeil’s website, where they have posted their announcement and contact information for consumers. Rather than me explain what you should do if you have questions, I thought it best to provide what McNeil said in their release:

For these instructions or information regarding how to return or dispose of the product, consumers should log on to the internet at www.mcneilproductrecall.com or call 1-888-222-6036 (Monday-Friday 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Eastern Time, and Saturday-Sunday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern Time). Consumers who have medical concerns or questions should contact their healthcare provider. Any adverse reactions may also be reported to the FDA’s MedWatch Program by fax at 1-800-FDA-0178, by mail at MedWatch, FDA, 5600 Fishers Lane, Rockville, MD 20852-9787, or on the MedWatch website at www.fda.gov/medwatch.

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January 15th, 2010

Help For Haiti

As I’ve watched the images of devastation and human suffering in Haiti unfold over the past few days, I’ve been asking myself – what can I do to help? There are, after all, many different charitable organizations out there doing good work, but which ones should I contribute to? Is it better to contribute money to get people the help, supplies and medical attention that they need immediately and in the longer term, or to contribute to clothing and food drives being organized. Many disaster experts recommend donating money versus supplies during early relief efforts because supplies may not arrive, may disrupt the local economy, and may not be culturally appropriate.

Like many other organizations, Johnson & Johnson is sending aid in the form of cash as well as needed health care products. For instance, a note went out to employees yesterday morning explaining that as a starting point, four Johnson & Johnson disaster relief modules with large quantities of consumer and over-the-counter products have been shipped. The company has also provided employees with a means to contribute to charitable organizations that my colleagues in the corporate contributions group feel have a good track record of providing the support and help in times of such emergencies.

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January 8th, 2010

How to Save a Life

January is National Blood Donor month. Although there are many committed blood donors like this man who traveled though harsh winter weather to donate his 160th pint of blood, donations are typically lower this time of year. I wanted to share the reasons why I donate blood and encourage you to donate, too.

I started donating blood about 15 years ago. I was recruited by a member of the New Jersey Blood Services. The New Jersey Blood Services has been fulfilling its commitment to the people of New Jersey by supplying blood products and services with quality and compassion. They serve approximately 60 New Jersey hospitals and conduct blood drives on a daily basis in 14 New Jersey counties. I have always been mindful of what a blessed life my family and I lead, and felt that this was my way of helping others; doing my part to make a difference. 

Your chances of knowing someone who will need a donation is huge. A few years ago my good friend Elisabeth got the great news from her son on becoming a grandparent for the first time of twins. Unfortunately, the twins were born prematurely and barely weighing 2 pounds. They faced many medical obstacles and were in need of blood donations.

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December 18th, 2009

To give or to take?

Note from Marc Monseau: The following is the third — and final — post from my colleague Angela Chiu based on the time she spent volunteering in Africa earlier this year. As 2009 winds down, and as my family and I gear up to celebrate the holiday season, I thought Angela’s words provided a poignant take on what we can all gain by giving to others.

From Angela Chiu, Interactive Marketing Manager, Vistakon, Hong Kong

Some clips from the work conducted earlier this year:

29 July 2009, Kampala King’s School, outreach activities and distributing gifts

1 Aug 2009, Cherish classroom dedication ceremony

How long did your joy last after getting an iPhone? How happy were you when you acquired a Kindle or a 72-inch plasma TV?  We have almost forgotten the joy that we used to have when getting a toy car, a doll, or a basketball when we were small. Over time, especially when we start to accumulate some wealth, value becomes nothing more than an entry in the books. How much meaning does it still carry?

Kampala King's School

When I looked at the children we visited in Kampala King’s School, Uganda, they had very little compared to us. Their school uniforms were not ironed, their socks were loose and shoes were torn.

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November 30th, 2009

World AIDS Day: Quality AIDS Care in Africa

By Ben Plumley, Vice President, Global Access and Partnerships, Tibotec

33 million people worldwide are living with HIV, and 70% of those are in sub-Saharan Africa.

Sub-Saharan Africa countries – already some of the poorest in the world – do not have adequate financial and human resources to provide the services their citizens living with HIV need.

The healthcare capacity gap is one of the key themes of 2009’s World AIDS Day and World AIDS Campaign. A number of extraordinary innovative approaches to providing AIDS treatment and care have been developed in recent years. Whether it is through “Centers of Excellence” with state of the art treatment, training and research facilities, or community-led and managed providers of home based care, African solutions to particular African problems are now driving the response to HIV/AIDS.  

Uganda is a prime example of both hi-tech and low-tech approaches. The Infectious Diseases Institute (IDI) in Uganda’s capital, Kampala, is a leading East African center providing optimal care and prevention for HIV and AIDS and works to develop innovative approaches to health training. Operated by Makerere University, IDI is a non-governmental organization that offers a full spectrum of advanced HIV care, support, training and groundbreaking, globally respected research.

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November 26th, 2009

How Hope Can Cure

From Angela Chiu, Interactive Marketing Manager, Vistakon, Hong Kong

30 July 2009, building classrooms at Cherish

How Hope Can CureMost days at Cherish, we laid bricks for an hour or so before we were invited to join their daily morning prayer session. The children were between 1 year old to 10 years old, and all were carrying lovely faces, some smiled, some giggled, some laughed, some jumped, some danced…they were so energetic and lively.  No one could tell they were actually HIV-infected. 

I had a chance to speak one-on-one with Rachael Parson, a full time childcare manager. She told me that the children being taken care of in Cherish seldom fall very sick. The virus inside their bodies has been well contained.  This is an amazing result, and it comes not only because of being given the right antiretroviral treatment but also a well-rounded diet fueled by the self-sustained organic farming at Cherish. Most important of all, it’s the living hope and love being provided to these children. At Cherish, these children are embraced with a promise of future hope. The strength of that love and hope goes so far, it is able to cure and enliven them. I think every one of us can imagine that hope is a crucial factor to save one’s life; no treatment or doctor can cure if a patient loses hope.

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November 23rd, 2009

What’s the ROI?

Every now and then I hear about work that is being done by people in their own time that causes me to stop and think to myself, am I doing enough to help others?  Earlier this year, a coworker of mine contacted me to tell me about a trip she was taking to Africa – not to take in the sites, but to give something back to the communities.  She asked if she could share her experiences with the folks who read JNJBTW, and I was more than pleased to say yes.  The following post is the first of three that I have the pleasure to put up on the blog. Now, keep in mind, Angela’s trip to Africa and the work that she did there was not an official Johnson & Johnson project, but I felt it was important to share her accomplishments as an example of what people can do outside of their work lives when they set their minds to helping others.

From Anglea Chiu, Interactive Marketing Manager, Vistakon, Hong Kong

1 August 2009, classroom dedication at Watoto

When a coworker heard that I was going to Uganda to build a school, he said to me, “From an ROI perspective, it doesn’t make sense for you guys to go all the way from Hong Kong to Africa to build a school! 

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November 18th, 2009

How to Prevent the Spread of Swine Flu in Schools

From Bill Lin, Director, Corporate Contributions

With the majority of swine flu cases occurring in children and young adults, schools have become a battleground for the disease. School nurses and administrators play a crucial role in preventing the spread of the swine flu and responding appropriately to outbreaks of flu cases in their schools and districts so healthy kids can continue going to school.

The New Jersey Principals and Supervisors Association and Johnson & Johnson recently held a Swine Flu (H1N1) Preparedness Training Seminar to provide school health professionals and administrators with accurate information about the current pandemic and prevention methods, such as educating students about hand hygiene and what to do when a sick child comes to school. Videos from the training seminar are available on the health channel.

This video features Dr. Tom Kirsch, an Associate Professor and the Director of Operations for the Department of Emergency Medicine at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, talking about effective prevention strategies to stop the spread of swine flu in schools:

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