Can J&J’s vaccine approval erase bad pharma?

SUMMARY: Pharma companies, like J&J, have received criticism for engaging in illegal activities, such as providing kickbacks and bribes, knowingly shipping adulterated or contaminated drugs to pharmacies, and marketing drugs for unapproved uses. Johnson & Johnson has paid $2.7 billion in penalties. Can a COVID-19 vaccine approval suddenly erase that?

The pharma industry also has the worst reputation of any industry according to Gallup polling. This is an intriguing problem for anyone interested in business ethics and public health,” said Denis G. Arnold, a coauthor of a study and a professor at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

Even after some settlements, J&J is still facing an estimated 20,000 talc-related lawsuits, which Bloomberg estimated would cost $10 billion to settle. Internal J&J documents have shown that company executives have known for decades that trace amounts of asbestos had been found in the talc, but they failed to alert consumers. That’s a LOT of money.

So should we forget all that because they developed a COVID vaccine? The answer is NO.

Let’s not fool ourselves J&J stands to make a lot of money from the development and approval of this vaccine.

When asked what the pharma industry can do to improve its reputation, Arnold pointed to the defense industry, which has “succeeded in instilling a strong ethics culture in each firm in the industry via cooperation and strong ethics and compliance programs,” he said. “The pharmaceutical industry can and should do the same. Indeed, given its terrible reputation, and its failure to adhere to PhRMA codes, it comes across as an incompetent industry when it comes to self-regulation and ethical leadership.”

Ethical leadership! That means putting patients first, not Wall Street. It means changes in executive management are needed to straighten the company.

Until those changes are made please spare me “how proud you are to work for J&J”….