Our company is built on a strong ethical foundation. Our values begin with our famed credo which states the following: “We believe our first responsibility is to the doctors, nurses and patients, to mothers and fathers and all others who use our products and services… We must be good citizens – support good works and charities.”
We should do our best to honor our credo in our company’s actions.
Levaquin, produced by our company, is in a class of drugs known as fluoroquinolones. Consumer concern over the safety of Levaquin has escalated sharply. Dr. Jay Cohen, a medical researcher, writes that adverse reactions to Levaquin are acute, severe, frightening, and often disabling. These adverse effects include, but are not limited to, tendon rupture requiring surgical repair, chronic tendonitis, irreversible peripheral neuropathy, toxic psychosis, kidney failure, liver failure. Dr. Cohen asserts that the manufacturer has ignored thousands of people who are suffering.
Unlike most drug side effects which are transient, Levaquin toxicity can result in devastating life-long disabilities that can ruin the lives of individuals and families. A recent FDA Freedom of Information Report for Levaquin, for the dates 11/1997 to 05/2011, indicates that there have been 1,174 death outcomes asserted in regard to Levaquin and over 20,000 individual safety reports filed.
Our annual report states that there are a significant number of claimants with pending lawsuits or claims regarding injuries allegedly due to Levaquin. Quoting the 10K report “these claimants seek substantial compensatory and, where available, punitive damages.” There are over 2,700 current Levaquin lawsuits pending.
“Johnson & Johnson’s Quality Catastrophe” is the title of the March 31st, 2011 cover story of BusinessWeek. The article states, “After 50 plus product recalls in 15 months, the $60 Billion company is fighting to clear its once-trusted name.” The article mentions the Levaquin claims.
In June of 2011, PBS broadcasted a national news segment on Levaquin titled “Certain Antibiotics Spur Widening Reports of Severe Side Effects.” The PBS segment shows a young school teacher named Jenne Wilcox who could no longer walk after taking Levaquin. Bedridden for over a year, she lost her teaching job. Without her income, the Wilcox family had to give up their home. The PBS segment shows John Fratti, who suffered neurological damage and chronic tendonitis. He also lost his job after taking Levaquin. Senator Harkin and Senator Grassley’s offices have begun an investigation into whether the FDA should issue more safety warnings for Levaquin.
Shareholders request Johnson & Johnson management to report to shareholders by October 2012, at reasonable cost and excluding confidential or legally prejudicial information, descriptions of any new initiatives instituted by management to address the health and social welfare concerns of people harmed by adverse effects from Levaquin. These initiatives could include measures to help improve the health or comfort of those who are suffering from alleged Levaquin side effects.