With New CEO at the Reins, J&J Hones in on Recalls

With New CEO at the Reins, J&J Hones in on RecallsJohnson & Johnson’s new CEO Alex Gorsky says his first priority will be to address the company’s problems with its over-the-counter medicines and recalls that have brought sales down and tarnished its reputation, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Gorsky came into the position on Thursday, April 26, and stated that the company must take great strides to upgrade its manufacturing processes and address the projects that have been removed from the market.

“Number one, we’ve got to get product on the shelves,” he said.

The company’s problems began in 2009, when J&J first recalled its well-established products, such as children’s Tylenol after it was discovered some bottles contained metal shavings, and another instance when batches were made with high concentrations of active ingredients, according to the news source.

Since the recalls, the company’s sales have dropped by $1.5 billion, and now J&J must operate per the terms of a federal consent decree that allows regulators to perform tighter inspection of its manufacturing plants.

Gorsky will also inherit a number of litigation problems concerning J&J’s marketing strategies for pharmaceuticals like the antipsychotic drug Risperdal, which could force the company to pay $1.2 billion after a trial jury in Arkansas found the company violated state laws. The new CEO will also take on other lawsuits, which stem from recalls of the company’s DePuy Orthopedics metal-on-metal artificial hips. The recall of the defective medical devices has resulted in a $3 billion charge.

According to Reuters, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is planning to question a panel of experts on June 27-28 as it puts metal-on-metal hip implants under the microscope. While such an investigation isn’t anything new, it could mean the agency is planning to make its review of medical devices much stricter.

The reviews were prompted by DePuy’s recall of 93,000 XL Acetabular metal-on-metal hips, which at their worst, experienced a 13 percent failure rate. A recent study concluded that 6 percent of people with metal-on-metal hip implants will need additional surgery in the future, compared to 1.7 percent for those with ceramic hips.

The FDA’s investigation could help the outcome of those with lawsuits against J&J. While several complaints have already been filed, a documented expert opinion will likely give these suits a much stronger case.