The United State of Women’s Summit took place this week to discuss the latest issues facing women today. Speaking on economic opportunity, entrepreneurship, and innovations, Johnson & Johnson Chief Executive Officer Alex Gorsky addressed a crowd of nearly 5,000 men and women.
While Mr. Gorsky is an accomplished businessman who no doubt had many pearls of wisdom to share with the audience, it’s what he didn’t share that was most telling. His company is facing thousands of lawsuits over a variety of their prescription medications, medical devices, and healthcare products.
After agreeing to pay the U.S. Department of Justice a whopping $2.2 billion in 2012 for illegally marketing some of their best selling medications – including the antipsychotic Riserdal – the company is waiting to hear if a Pennsylvania Supreme Court will uphold the punitive damages awarded in a civil lawsuit in relation to Johnson & Johnson’s failure to warn consumers about the side effects of Risperdal.
J&J is already responsible for millions of dollars in punitive damages for lawsuits, including $502 million to five plaintiffs injured by defective hip implants and a total of $127 million to two plaintiffs after both women developed ovarian cancer after using talcum powder.
The talcum powder lawsuits filed against J&J brought to light internal company documents proving the company knew about the link between talcum powder and ovarian cancer, but they actively concealed this fact and continued to market their talcum powder products.
In addition to lawsuits against the company’s hip implants, antipsychotic medication, and talcum powder products, J&J is also facing lawsuits over the diabetes medication Invokana, the anticoagulant Xarelto, power morcellators, and transvaginal mesh.
On top of the civil lawsuits, the states of California and Washington have also filed suit against the company for misrepresenting the risks of transvaginal mesh.
However, the company’s mounting legal trouble was absent from Mr. Gorsky’s presentation at the United State of Women’s Summit – surprising considering three out of their current lawsuits relate to dangerous products or medical devices affecting women.
Instead, Mr. Gorsky stated, “We take care of our people and they take care of us, so Johnson & Johnson can help everyone live longer, healthier, happier lives.”
For the thousands of men and women who were harmed by J&J products, this statement contradicts their painful experiences with the company’s dangerous and defective drugs and medical devices. As lawsuits against the company come to trial, J&J will have a much harder time convincing consumers to they can live longer, healthier, happier lives while using their products.