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    Tylenol Product Contamination Case

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    Looking for some information in terms of the Tylenol Product Contamination case, specifically, were there any policy decisions that led to this crisis?

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    Please see response below, as well as two supporting articles. I hope this helps and take care.


    Interesting question! However, the malice act of a third party perpetrator(s) is difficult to link back to policy decisions made by J&J that could have caused the crisis. Let's take a closer look through discussion and reports of the Tylenol crisis to determine if there were any gaps in policy that could have lead to the crisis.

    1. Looking for some information in terms of the Tylenol Product Contamination case, specifically, - - were there any policy decisions that led to this crisis?

    I did an extensive on-line search and there is no mention of policy decisions that lead to the crisis. Can you argue either way, mainly, that there were no policy decisions that lead to the crisis? Since the Tylenol crisis did not originate within the company, it is difficult to argue that it was due to policy or that policy could have prevented the crisis (as a case in point, one argument is presented below). In fact, BECAUSE it occurred outside the company set the foundation for its recovery. A company attacked by a criminal will be forgiven more quickly than one accused of being the criminal. Johnson & Johnson's actions were admirable, but logical. People were killed, so the company pulled the product from stores and encouraged consumers to throw it away (http://www.usatoday.com/news/opinion/editorials/2004-03-17-dezenhall_x.htm).

    All reports argue that J&J was a victim of third party tampering. In fact, after it was established that a third-party had poisoned the capsules, J&J and Tylenol were regarded as victims of an evil act that threatened the safety of the nation's food and medicine supply, any product stacked unattended on supermarket shelves. I find it interesting, however, that a small amount of the deadly chemical of cyanide was present in a laboratory remote from the production line. However, through allowing cameras to record the manufacturing and packaging process, this notion was put to rest. However, what were the small traces doing in the laboratory (http://www.burson-marsteller.com/About_Us/Our_Heritage/our_founder/Lists/HaroldMemos/DispForm.aspx?ID=11&nodeName=Our%20Founder&SubTitle=There's%20Nothing%20New%20Under%20the%20Sun) and were they present in all the laboratories?

    However, as the tampered bottles came from different factories, and the seven deaths had all occurred in the Chicago area, the possibility of sabotage during production was ruled out. Instead, the culprit was believed to have entered various supermarkets and drug stores over a period of weeks, pilfered packages of Tylenol from the shelves, adulterated their contents with solid cyanide compound at another location, and then replaced the bottles. In addition to the five bottles, which led to the victims' deaths, three other tampered bottles were discovered (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1982_Chicago_Tylenol_murders).

    Policy Decisions

    Prior to the crisis, the credo was written in the mid-1940's by Robert Wood Johnson, the company's leader for 50 years. Little did Johnson know, he was writing an outstanding public relations plan. Johnson saw business as having responsibilities to ...

    Solution Summary

    Referring to the Tylenol Product Contamination case, this solution examines if there were any policy decisions that led to this crisis. Two supporting articles on the case are also provided.