Johnson & Johnson
Learn more about corporations VOTING to rewrite our laws.
This article is part of the Center for Media & Democracy's spotlight on global corporations.
Johnson & Johnson (J&J) is an international health care and pharmaceutical company based in New Jersey and founded in 1886. It manufactures a variety of prescription medications and health care products as well as over-the-counter drugs, personal care products and food additives. Johnson & Johnson operates 250 companies in 60 countries. Brands and products include: OneTouch glucose testing, Acuvue contacts, Listerine, Aveeno, Neutrogena, Neosporin, RoC, Band-aid, Tylenol, Splenda, Carefree and Visine. It also sells prescription drugs and medical supplies including Cordis and Ethicon. Centocor and McNeil Laboratories are pharmaceutical subsidiaries of J&J.
In 2010, Johnson & Johnson had $62 billion in revenue, gross profit of $42.8 billion, and net income after taxes of $13.3 billion. Its CEO, William C. Weldon, earned $28.7 million in total compensation the same year.
Ties to the American Legislative Exchange Council
Until 2012, Johnson & Johnson was on the corporate ("Private Enterprise") board of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). Don Bohn, Vice President for State Government Affairs, represented J&J on ALEC's corporate board as of 2011. J&J was a "Vice-Chairman" level sponsor of the 2011 American Legislative Exchange Council Annual Conference, which in 2010 equated to $25,000. J&J was also a sponsor of the ALEC Kids Congress for the 2011 ALEC Annual Meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Jeff Buel, Director of State Government Affairs, represented J&J on the Executive Committee of ALEC's Health and Human Services Task Force. Other members of this executive committee have been representatives from Blue Cross & Blue Shield, American Physical Therapy Association, the Heartland Institute, Hoffman-LaRoche, and Bayer Healthcare. Buel is also a PhRMA representative.
J&J announced it would "suspend" its ALEC membership June 12, 2012.
A list of ALEC corporations, can be found here. A list of other corporations which have cut ties with ALEC can be found here.
ALEC is a corporate bill mill. It is not just a lobby or a front group; it is much more powerful than that. Through ALEC, corporations hand state legislators their wishlists to benefit their bottom line. Corporations fund almost all of ALEC's operations. They pay for a seat on ALEC task forces where corporate lobbyists and special interest reps vote with elected officials to approve “model” bills. Learn more at the Center for Media and Democracy's ALECexposed.org, and check out breaking news on our PRWatch.org site.
Lobbying and Political Contributions
In 2010, the company's Political Action Committee spent $1.1 million on federal campaign contributions. House Democrats received $266,500 and House Republicans received $185,000. Senate Democrats received $67,000 and Senate Republicans received $36,000.
The company manufactures drugs for conditions which include neurological, blood and autoimmune diseases as well as pain medications. Top sellers include Risperdal for schizophrenia and Remicade for psoriasis. The company's medical devices and diagnostics division manufactures surgical equipment, monitoring devices, orthopedic products and contact lenses, and other products. Its consumer division includes over-the-counter drugs and products for babies, skin and oral care as well as first aid and women's health products.
Its drugs include: AXERT® (almotriptan malate), INVEGA® (paliperidone), REMINYL® (galantamine) / RAZADYNE® (galantamine), TOPAMAX® (topiramate), CONCERTA® (methylphenidate), INVEGA® SUSTENNA™ (paliperidone palmitate), RISPERDAL® (risperidone), LEUSTATIN® (cladribine), DURAGESIC® (fentanyl transdermal system), NUCYNTA™ (tapentadol) immediate release tablets, RISPERDAL® CONSTA® (risperidone), ACIPHEX® (rabeprazole) / PARIET® (rabeprazole), REOPRO® (abciximab), NATRECOR® (nesiritide), REGRANEX® (becaplermin), SIMPONI™ (golimumab), STELARA™ (ustekinumab), REMICADE® (infliximab), DORIBAX® (doripenem for injection), PREZISTA™ (darunavir), INTELENCE™ (etravirine), LEVAQUIN® (levofloxacin), DOXIL® (doxorubicin HCl liposome injection), PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa), VELCADE® (bortezomib).
Alleged Promotion of Anti-Psychotic Drugs for Off-Label Uses
Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen of Madison, WI along with 36 other state Attorneys General, reached a $200 million settlement with Johnson & Johnson subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc. on August 30, 2012. Wisconsin's share of the settlement was $4,267,876.
Under federal law, the promotion of products for off-label uses is prohibited. J.B. Van Hollen alleges that four of the anti-psychotic drugs, Risperdal, Risperdal Consta, Risperdal M-Tab and Invega, were "improperly marketed." Janssen "engaged in unfair and deceptive practices when it marketed Risperdal for unapproved or off-labeled uses."
After a four year investigation, the record-setting payment was reached along with Janssen agreeing to change the way it promotes and markets the drugs. The settlement restricts Janssen from promoting its atypical antipsychotic drugs for “off-label” uses that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) has not approved. In addition, the following conditions are held to the company for a five-year plan.
- Must clearly and conspicuously disclose, in promotional materials for atypical antipsychotic products, the specific risks identified in the black-box warning on its product labels;
- Must present information about effectiveness and risk in a balanced manner in its promotional materials;
- Shall not promote its atypical antipsychotics using selected symptoms of the FDA-approved diagnoses unless certain disclosures are made regarding the approved diagnoses;
- Shall require its scientifically trained personnel, rather that its sales and marketing personnel, to develop the medical content of scientific communications to address requests for information from health care providers regarding Janssen’s atypical antipsychotics;
- Must refrain from providing samples of its atypical antipsychotics to health care providers whose clinical practices are inconsistent with the FDA-approved labeling of those atypical antipsychotics;
- Must not use grants to promote its atypical antipsychotics nor condition medical education funding on Janssen’s approval of speakers or program content;
- Must contractually require medical education providers to disclose Janssen’s financial support of their programs and any financial relationship with faculty and speakers; and
- Must have policies in place to ensure that financial incentives are not given to marketing and sales personnel that encourage or reward off-label marketing.
The Attorneys General of the following states and the District of Columbia participated in the settlement: Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
Johnson & Johnson does animal testing.
Facility information, progress reports & USDA-APHIS reports
For links to copies of a facility's U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)-Animal Plant Health Inspection (APHIS) reports, other information and links, see also Stop Animal Experimentation NOW!: Facility Reports and Information. This site contains listings for all 50 states, links to biomedical research facilities in that state and PDF copies of government documents where facilities must report their animal usage. (Search: Skillman, New Jersey; Raritan, New Jersey.)
USDA AWA reports
As of May 26, 2009, the USDA began posting all inspection reports for animal breeders, dealers, exhibitors, handlers, research facilities and animal carriers by state. See also USDA Animal Welfare Inspection Reports.
Animal welfare & cruelty issues
Splenda is the brand name for Sucralose, an artificial sweetener manufactured by J & J subsidiary, McNeil Laboratories. In 2000, a series of reports were published by Permagon press on the details of animal testing for Sucralose at Huntingdon Life Sciences (HLS). These experiments were reportedly carried out on dogs, monkeys, rabbits, rats and mice. A total of 12,800 animals died at HLS for this study. One of the objectives was to observe effects of massive doses of sucralose on animal's nervous systems.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) conducted a shareholder campaign against J&J in 2004 calling on the company to "abandon five crude and cruel animal tests, replacing them with state-of-the-art and scientifically valid non-animal methods that are already in use in other countries." After the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) rejected J&J's request to exclude PETA's shareholder statement from its proxy statement, PETA and the company established a dialogue resulting in PETA's voluntarily withdrawal of the shareholder resolution. , 
Product safety issues & controversies
- According to a case study from the IBS Center for Management Research (ICMR), "Tylenol was the first acetaminophen-based analgesic to be sold as an OTC drug. The product was promoted aggressively and had become a leader within a few years. In 1982, it was found that Tylenol capsules were laced with Cyanide. This resulted in the death of many people. However, with the company's proactive and effective public relations program, Tylenol regained its market share within six months. J&J again faced problems when people died due to overdoses of Tylenol. This was mainly because the public as well as the medical practitioners were not well informed about the product's side-effects.
Though the company received bad publicity and had to spend millions of dollars in legal settlements, J&J was reluctant to have more explicit warnings on Tylenol's labels. This was in contrast to the company's response in the previous product tampering crises. However, in 1997, following the the FDA labeling rules, J&J made many changes in Tylenol's labels."
- In 2010, Johnson & Johnson faced class-action lawsuits over recalled children's medications. Benadryl, Sudafed and Sinutab, Tylenol allergy, Cold and Sinus Cool Burst caplets, Tylenol arthritis pain geltabs, Tylenol 8-hour caplets, Benadryl allergy kapgels and caplets, Sudafed PE caplets and Sinutab Sinus caplets were all recalled. "In July 2010 five children's medication lawsuits were filed by six different consumers in the U.S. District Court for the District of Northern Illinois. The lawsuits accused Johnson & Johnson of fraud and racketeering, saying that the company failed to recall the drugs properly and did not do enough to allow consumers to recover losses. A Food and Drug Administration report said its inspectors found thick dust and grime covering certain equipment, a hole in the ceiling and duct tape-covered pipes at the Fort Washington, Pennsylvania, facility that made 40 products recalled."
Splenda is derived from a chlorocarbon chemical which contains three atoms of chlorine per molecule (named sucralose by its manufacturer) and which is 600 times sweeter than a natural molecule of sugar. The use of "ose" implies that this substance is "natural" (as in sucrose), the name for table sugar. J&J has patented several chemical processes for manufacturing sucralose. The patent literature illustrates that sucralose can be chemically manufactured without natural sugar, with an end product of an entirely new chlorocarbon chemical (sucralose).
There has not been a single long term human study to determine on potential health risks of Splenda. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has relied on a handful of short term human studies to approve Splenda as safe for human consumption. Further, these studies were all conducted by the manufacturer of Splenda, hardly an unbiased source.
Splenda is found in nearly 3,500 food products. However, not all of these products list Splenda as an ingredient and not one of them reveal the fact that the product contains chlorine. Further, none of the regulatory agencies nor scientific review bodies responsible for confirming the safety of sucralose, require that warnings be included in labeling.  In spite of wide spread evidence and documentation of health dangers and concerns, Sucralose remains widely available for consumption. ,  See also Splenda: Sadistically Sweet.
In February 2007, O'Dwyer's PR Daily reported that Johnson & Johnson's biopharmaceutical unit, Centocor had "developed a documentary film to serve as the centerpiece of a national campaign and an alternative to the 30-second spot." The film, called "Innerstate," follows "three patients living with chronic diseases like Crohn's disease, Rheumatoid arthritis, and psoriasis; ailments for which Centocor markets treatments. Centocor's drugs aren't mentioned in the movie, however." 
- William C. Weldon - Chairman and CEO - $28.7 million compensation
(As noted previously, "Between base salary of $1.73 million, incentive pay of $9.19 million, plus stock awards and options and various miscellaneous perks, Johnson & Johnson's Bill Weldon raked in $25.1 million in compensation--almost $5 million more than in 2006. Other job perks added up to $179,231, including personal aircraft use ($118,653), and a car and driver and other personal transportation expenses ($29,753). Executive dining room meals, home security system monitoring fees, and financial planning totaled an additional $5,000.")
- Dominic J. Caruso - CFO and Corporate Vice President of Finance - $5.6 million compensation
- Ajit Shetty Ph.D. - Chief Quality Officer and Vice President of Worldwide Operations
- Laverne H. Council - Chief Information Officer and Vice President
- Michael J. F. Del Prado - Group Chairman
- Russell C. Deyo - Chief Compliance Officer, General Counsel - $8.9 million compensation
- Joaquin Duato - Worldwide Chairman of Pharmaceuticals
- Seth H. Z. Fischer - Group Chairman
- Alex Gorsky - Worldwide Chairman of MEdical Devices and Diagnostics Group/Vice President of Executive Committee
Selected board members
- Arnold G. Langbo - Retired Chairman of the Board & CEO, Kellogg Company
- Leo F. Mullin, Retired Chairman & CEO, Delta Air Lines
- Charles Prince, Chairman & CEO, Citigroup
- Steven S. Reinemund, Retired Chairman & CEO, PepsiCo 
One Johnson & Johnson Plaza
New Brunswick, New Jersey 08933
P.O. Box 726
Langhorne, PA 19047-0726
Articles & sources
- Animal testing
- Burson-Marsteller Offers Journalists Cash to Attend Drug Regulator's Hearing
- Crisis management
- Huntingdon Life Sciences
- National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)
- Pharmaceutical industry
- Processed food industry
- Splenda: Sadistically Sweet
- Children Without Worms
- Johnson & Johnson Financials, Hoovers, accessed July 9, 2011.
- William C. Weldon profile, Forbes.com, accessed July 9, 2011.
- Private Enterprise Board, ALEC website, accessed July 8, 2011.
- [American Legislative Exchange Council, 2011 Conference Sponsors, conference brochure on file with CMD, August 11, 2011]
- [American Legislative Exchange Council, 2011 Kids Congress, conference brochure on file with CMD, August 11, 2011]
- American Legislative Exchange Council Private Sector Executive Committee, organization website, accessed June 2, 2011
- Health and Human Services Task Force Meetings (archives), ALEC website, accessed July 9, 2011.
- National Institute on State Politics, Building Their Immunity, FollowTheMoney.org, accessed July 9, 2011.
- American Legislative Exchange Council, Jeff Buel, organizational biography, accessed July 9, 2011.
- Salvador Rizzo, Johnson & Johnson becomes first N.J. company to part ways with ALEC, New Jersey Star-Ledger, June 12, 2012
- Johnson & Johnson lobbying 2010, Center for Responsive Politics, accessed July 9, 2011
- Johnson & Johnson: Bills Lobbied 2010, OpenSecrets.org, accessed July 10, 2011
- Johnson & Johnson Contributions to Federal Contributions, Open Secrets.org lobbying database, accessed June 2011
- Company Description: Johnson & Johnson, Hoovers, accessed December 2009
- Johnson & Johnson, Prescription Products, corporate website, accessed July 10, 2011
- Richard Moore, Wisconsin to receive $4.7 million in Risperdal case, The Lakeland Times, September 4, 2012.
- Johnson & Johnson, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc. announces RISPERDAL® consumer protection settlement with 36 states and the District of Columbia, corporate press release, August 30, 2012.
- Insurance Journal, Janssen Pharmaceuticals Settles Deceptive Advertising Practices Suit for $181M, August 30, 2012.
- Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen, Wisconsin Department of Justice, Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen and 36 Other Attorneys General Reach a Landmark $200 Million Settlement with Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a Subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, governmental press release, August 30, 2012.
- What Do They Test? Splenda: Coffee Sweetner, SHAC.net, accessed December 2009
- Shareholder Campaign: Johnson & Johnson, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, accessed July 9, 2011.
- Statement on Product Safety and Laboratory Research Lab Testing, J&J website, accessed July 9, 2011
- IBS Center for Management Research, Business Ethics Case Studies,"ICMR," accessed July 9, 2011.
- J&J Controversy Continues; Massive Tylenol, Benadryl, Sudafed Recall,"Medical News Today. Jan. 17, 2011"
- Truth About Splenda®.com: Fact vs. Fiction, Janethull.com, accessed July 2011
- Facts about Splenda, Truthaboutsplenda.com, accessed July 2011
- Sucralose Toxicity Information Center, Holistic Healing, accessed July 2011
- O'Dwyer's PR Daily Centocor Innerstate, February 2007
- J&J's Bill Weldon - CEO Pay, Fierce Pharma, Top 17 Paychecks in Big Pharma, May 2008
- Board of Directors, Johnson & Johnson, accessed October 2007.
- Stephanie Saul, Drug Gets a Cameo in a Film Backed by Its Maker, New York Times, February 21, 2007.
- "Centocor Uses Documentary for PR," O'Dwyer's PR Daily (sub req'd), February 15, 2007.
- Gardiner Harris and Eric Koli, "Lucrative Drug, Danger Signals and the F.D.A.", New York Times, June 10, 2005.
- Marian Burros, "Splenda's 'Sugar' Claim Unites Odd Couple of Nutrition Wars", New York Times, February 15, 2005.
- J&J Statement on Product Safety and Laboratory Research Lab Testing., J&J, accessed July 9, 2011