Being a senior public relations major at Kent State University, time and time again I have been introduced to the Tylenol scandal from 1982. Of course, crisis management is something that public relations professionals might have to deal with, and the Tylenol scare is probably one of the best practices for ways to handle a crisis.
In case you haven’t heard about it, let me give you a brief description of what happened. In 1982, Tylenol was the leading pain reliever brand in the United States. In Chicago, seven deaths were reported because of cyanide that was put in the Tylenol capsules. After sending out public announcements warning people about the Tylenol deaths, Johnson & Johnson recalled every bottle of Tylenol in the U.S. and halted advertising.
We have learned in public relation’s classes about crisis management, and if you ask the PR students at Kent State, this will most likely always come to mind.
Well, here we go again. I just read Pharmacuetical Business Online, and a division of Johnson & Johnson has begun a voluntary recall on Grifulvin V. There have been two reports of glass found in the bottles of liquid that occurred during the shipping of the product. Johnson & Johnson said the product is now going to be over wrapped to try and prevent breakage while shipping.
I think all PR majors can learn a lesson when they get into real world. When managing a crisis, communicate and react quickly. People scare easily when it comes to health risks. Make sure you understand the situation and understand that it could potentially get even worse.
When prescription drugs start to cause fatalities, it becomes an even bigger problem. The prescription Zelnorm was pulled from shelves a couple weeks ago, but no deaths were reported…yet. In fact, some people are upset that the drug was recalled because the FDA said that it causes more health risks than benefits. More than 11 million people have taken the drug. The company might not be happy that the drug was recalled, but you never know, the FDA might have stopped the drug company from dealing with a crisis in the future.