Tainted Tylenol Ethical Issues

I teach several different ethics courses where we look at individual companies and how they handled ethical issues.  Beech-nut selling a product they called apple juice that technically had no apples in it, was a classic case example of a non-ethical way to do business.  

In the 80s, Johnson and Johnson had to deal with tainted Tylenol (The Tylenol Murders) due to product tampering. Their quick and responsive resolution to a potentially imagine-ruining situation has made J&J stand out as a good example of an ethical business. 

Now J&J’s reputation has come into question though as they used bacteria-tainted materials to create their children’s Tylenol.  Although they claim that only the raw material was tainted and the finished product showed no reports of illness, the company had to recall their product. The Wall Street Journal reported, “J&J’s handling of the problem has become a focus of a congressional investigation into manufacturing problems.  J&J has issued more than a half dozen recalls of popular over-the-counter medicines  over the past year.”