Health Care Trends With a Social Media Twist
As practitioners of healthcare public relations and marketing, we urge everyone (those involved in healthcare and not) to pause and recognize the extraordinary life of Mr. James Burke, the former CEO of Johnson & Johnson who has passed away last week.
For those who only think of Tylenol as a pain medication, let me remind you of one of the worst tampering epidemics in consumer history. In the fall of 1982, seven people died as a result of cyanide laced Tylenol capsules produced by Johnson & Johnson.
Putting people’s lives before profits, Mr. Burke voluntarily ordered a national recall of 31 million bottles (costing $100M) of the blockbuster drug offering free replacement of the product in a safer tablet form. Furthermore, in an effort to protect the public, Johnson & Johnson urged consumers to stay away from the medication.
Three months after the recall, the product was back on the shelves with innovative tamper proof packing. Through responsible corporate citizenship, almost immediately, Tylenol regained its market share with a new found strength as a pain-medication that consumers and healthcare providers could feel safe and confident administering.
Mr. Burke showed everyone that for a company to be considered a true steward of improving lives; the company and its products had to do just that—improve not impair. Rather than glossing over the incident, Mr. Burke made a point of calling public attention to this malicious act by showing consumers the dedication and corporate responsibility behind the white and red capsules.
We as PR practitioners and consumers of healthcare would do well to take Mr. Burke’s guiding principle of telling the truth and doing the right thing as gospel.
As we all know, it is not if there will be a crisis, but when.
Thank you, Mr. Burke, may you rest in peace.