Johnson and Johnson has been a very broadly-based organization that has been manufacturing health care products since a very long time. It started its footsteps as a child in the mid 1880s with the production of ready-to-use, ready-made surgical dressing. It was the first company to have applied the theory of wound treatment by use of antiseptics. With its application, the chances of infection in postoperative patients reduced greatly. Robert Wood Johnson, the father of Johnson and Johnson took note of the theory of antisepsis which was provided by Sir Joseph Lister. Robert Wood Johnson then sat down to practically apply Sir Joseph Lister's theory. In 1885, Robert Wood Johnson called in his brothers James Wood Johnson and Edward Mead Johnson and the three entered a partnership. A wallpaper factory was taken over by the Johnson brothers and they set up a small operation with only 14 employees. After two years, in 1887, the official name given to the company was "Johnson and Johnson." They started with the surgical dressings as not many hospitals had the capacity to apply Lister's theory in the United States back in 1887. The very first products that Johnson and Johnson manufactured were improved versions of medicinal plasters that had necessary medical compounds amalgamated in an adhesive. Their next step was the formulation of a surgical dressing which they made available in the market as soon as the production started. A cotton and gauze dressing which was absorbent and soft was the next aim for the Johnson brothers. They had a vision that this dressing should be produced in really massive quantities and then be made available to every hospital, doctor and druggist. Realizing that their products should be promoted and awareness should be brought about in the masses, Johnson and Johnson published a book in 1888 called "Modern Methods of Antiseptic Wound Treatment." This book soon became a standard text regarding the antiseptic practices and remained as such for many years to come.
The father of the poet hero of World War I Joyce Kilmer, Fred B. Kilmer played a helpful role in the development of Johnson and Johnson. He was a reputed writer on medical subjects and scientific subjects and through his writing in Johnson and Johnson magazines he influenced the physicians and other health care professionals. Fred B. Kilmer deserves all the credit for the invention of one of the most famous products of Johnson and Johnson. This product is used even today by many all over the world. In 1890 many patients complained about the irritation caused on their skins due to the use of the plasters formed by Johnson and Johnson. The doctors informed the company about it and Kilmer referred the use of Italian talcum powder to bring relief. Soon this talcum power was being sold as "Johnson's Baby Powder" and today this product is being used across the globe by millions of consumers. Appreciating the response they received from the general public, Johnson and Johnson later started manufacturing other baby care products.
Anticipating the need of sterilized dressings the company started to treat the dressings with dry heat. They set up a bacteriological laboratory in 1891 and Johnson started the production of sterilized dressings successfully. Johnson and Johnson started to work with many renowned surgeons of America and developed more medical products. They started developing products that would cause less discomfort to the patients and thus their products became really popular. Robert Wood Johnson had a far sighted vision and like most others he did not reject Lister's theory of antisepsis. He wanted to provide for the people what had not been given to them. He tapped a market that had not liquefied yet and manufactured the latest technology that others had not yet begun producing. No doubt his vision was the main cause for the success of Johnson and even today people widely use its products. In 1910 Robert Wood Johnson passed away and James W. Johnson took over the president's chair. The company was under him for another 20 years and it continued to prosper. It started going international in 1919 with its first international branch in Canada.
General Robert Wood Johnson wrote the Company's Credo in 1943 which explained the responsible approach of Johnson and Johnson in carrying out their business. It states that the Company's initial most responsibility is to serve the people who make use of their services and products. Second in their priority list comes the employees followed by the environment and community and the last being the stockholders. This shows that Company had aimed to serve the consumers and wished to provide them with the best. It had also envisioned that if the first three priorities were met, the last one i.e. The stockholders, would be fulfilled automatically. "The philosophy at Johnson & Johnson is, 'All accidents and injuries are preventable. An accident is the end result of a unique chain of events and conditions. The role of all Johnson & Johnson employees is to foresee these acts and intercept them before they occur,' says Van Houten" (Sandy Smith, p.76.). Health and safety are of utmost importance to Johnson and they do not allow factors such as profits, sales and production to compromise the safety and health issues. During 1944, Johnson and Johnson became public from a privately held organization. Johnson and Johnson later realized its need to expand and diversify its business and during the 1950s, it entered into pharmaceuticals and later on produced Tylenol, a well-known pain killer.
When Johnson and Johnson produced Tylenol it wished to secure and corner the market. It did not want competition in the field. One small company started a non-pill alternate to the pain killers. It was a device called "transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulator" which would relieve the pain by sending electrical signals to the site of pain. This was a cheap device which was a one time purchase. Johnson and Johnson saw the invention and marketing of this device as a threat to their products and hence took over the company. Surprisingly they did not manufacture the product further and ceased its sales and production. It was thus evident that Johnson and Johnson saw this budding company as a threat and felt the need to eliminate competitors. This act was against the principles presented in the Credo and was certainly unethical. Their aim was not to prevent the pain and give relief to the people but was to prevent competition. By 1980 Tylenol was facing more and more competitors in the market. There were painkillers everywhere in increasing numbers. The management at Johnson and Johnson started a launched a new product which was supposed to be a revolutionary pain killer called Zomax. Interesting was the fact that the risks of this drug was more than its benefits. It stayed in the market for about 28 months before it was recalled. The physicians and health professionals were made to believe that the drug is really efficient and thus before the drug was recalled, it was already prescribed to millions of people. It resulted in an estimated minimum of 14 deaths and over 2000 cases of allergic reactions. Johnson and Johnson's lack of responsibility or maybe greed led to the death of some people. The FDA ignored the carcinogenic effects of Zomax but later "based on an independent review of an animal study, Dr. M. Adrian Gross, a former FDA toxicologist, rated the cancer risk of Zomax 'highly significant'" (Morton Mintz, p.20.). This behavior by them was very unethical in nature and should have been avoided whether there was increased competition or not.
Johnson and Johnson has a diverse product line ranging from pharmaceuticals, baby products, First Aid, Women's health, Skin and Hair care, Vision care to Family planning and Feminine hygiene. It has more than 200 companies operating for the manufacturing of a range of products for the use of people of all ages. Johnson and Johnson were the first to introduce contraceptive jelly for prescription. They have also spearheaded the production of birth control pills. In 2004 Johnson and Johnson aimed to produce a revolutionary contraceptive skin patch for the purpose of family planning. They informed that this patch would be easier to use and although the effects of the hormones released into the system will have similar effects as that of a pill, women will not have to face the problem of remembering to take the pill everyday. They aim to target the third world countries where they feel women often forget to take the pill everyday and hence it would be easier for them to use the patch. "The new patch is considered by experts to be ideal for new mothers who may be especially at risk from forgetting to take the Pill" (Anonymous, p.32.). Hopefully Johnson and Johnson will follow an ethical path based on its Credo and keep public safety first. Johnson and Johnson has a high budget allocated for its advertisement campaigns aimed…