Thursday, September 05, 2019

AG Hunter clarifies using SC Johnson "family company" slogan in reference to Johnson & Johnson during opioid case

Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter
State Clarifies Position on Calling Johnson & Johnson a Family Company
Reference in no way intended to create confusion between 
Johnson & Johnson and SC Johnson

OKLAHOMA CITY - The state of Oklahoma’s reference to Johnson & Johnson as not living up to its image as “a family company” was in no way intended to cause confusion with the separate and independent company S.C. Johnson.

One company, S.C. Johnson, makes household cleaning products. The other, Johnson & Johnson, was the kingpin of the Oklahoma opioid crisis.

“We understand why no company, including S.C. Johnson, would ever want to be associated with Johnson & Johnson’s involvement in the opioid crisis,” said Attorney General Mike Hunter. “Our references to Johnson & Johnson not being “a family company” were made in regards to its efforts to market itself as a family friendly company—including running commercials in Oklahoma throughout our trial posing itself as a company that provides products to your family from the moment a baby is born until the end of life. Of course, the thousands of Oklahomans who have died from what the court described as a “menace to Oklahoma” caused by Johnson & Johnson disagree.

“Going forward we will not refer to Johnson & Johnson as “a family company” because the Johnson & Johnson family of companies most certainly are no such thing.”

Johnson & Johnson’s Broken Pledge
Recently, Johnson & Johnson CEO Alex Gorsky signed the Business Roundtable’s (BRT) redefined statement on the purpose of a corporation.

Since 1997, the BRT has endorsed principles of shareholder importance, which have typically said corporations exist to serve shareholders. The updated statement, released last month, moves to redefine the purpose of a corporation to promote an economy that serves all stakeholders.

Gorsky — a former sales representative for Janssen — said the new statement “affirms the essential role corporations can play in improving our society when CEOs are truly committed to meeting the needs of all stakeholders.”

Attorney General Hunter said Gorsky has already broken the promise they made in signing on to the BRT’s redefined statement.

“It is beyond disappointing that Gorsky and Johnson & Johnson have already broken the promise they made just two weeks ago,” Attorney General Hunter said. “Indeed, even after a judge found that the very sales division Gorsky used to work for engaged in deceptive conduct that caused the opioid crisis. Gorsky has not only allowed a post-trial marketing campaign where it continues to deny any responsibility but also continues to utterly disrespect Judge Thad Balkman and the state of Oklahoma.

“On behalf of families of the more than 6,000 Oklahomans who lost their lives due to the menace that Johnson & Johnson caused, I would like to personally invite Gorsky to come meet with me in Oklahoma so he and his company can accept responsibility, live up to its code of conduct, the “purpose of a corporation” and help us start the healing process.”


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