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Johnson & Johnson began as a small family owned company, founded by three brothers. They began with an innovative, somewhat radical idea that medical products used to treat wounds and injuries should all be sterile. When they created this company, the Johnson brothers never imagined the success they would experience. Through generations of new innovations and product creations, Johnson & Johnson has been able to shape the United States economy and have far more influence than they ever imagined.
Johnson & Johnson began when one of the three brothers, Robert Wood Johnson, heard a speech by Joseph Lister, a believer in antisepsis production. Lister felt that ready-to-use surgical dressings would be far safer and more sterile than the products used on the spot by doctors and nurses of the time. James Wood Johnson, Edward Mead Johnson, and Robert Wood Johnson took this idea and put it into production, releasing their first ready to use surgical dressings in 1886. The company became officially incorporated in 1886, and took off from there.
Since their incorporation in 1886, Johnson & Johnson has become the largest, most influential health care company. Starting with a small headquarters based in New Brunswick, NJ, Johnson & Johnson expanded to Canada in 1919 and to England in 1924. In the 1940s and the 1960s Johnson & Johnson continued experiencing tremendous international growth spanning from places such as Zimbabwe all the way to Portugal and Spain. In the 1980s, they began merging and acquiring new companies to aid in their rapid expansion.
Besides just trying to make a profit, Johnson & Johnson has made countless efforts to conduct their business ethically, influencing society in a positive way. The first example of these efforts was the creation of their disaster relief program in 1906, which sent volunteers and trains full of medical supplies to San Francisco within hours of their big earthquake and fire in order to assist with providing aid for the victims and survivors. In addition, in 1982, Johnson & Johnson received tremendous praise for their extraordinary handling of the Chicago Tylenol murder situation. After a few bottles of Extra Strength Tylenol were tampered with and laced with potassium cyanide in Chicago, seven people died from consumption of the pills. Although it was largely believed to be an incidental occurrence, focused in Chicago, Johnson & Johnson chose to pull all of their capsules off the shelves and issued a nationwide recall on all of their Tylenol products. Rather than worry about having to recall 31 million bottles, valued at $100 million, Tylenol chose the ethical route, protecting the safety of the American people. Although their stocks dropped during the scare from 38% to 5%, the media praise they received for their handling of the situation helped them to rebound within a year. This is an amazing recovery, as many companies would have gone bankrupt from this incident.
Further putting ethics ahead of profit, Johnson & Johnson has a mission to maintain an environmentally friendly company. They have drastically reduced their water use, energy use, and waste. They have recently changed the type of packaging they use in their plastic bottles due to harmful chemicals discovered during the manufacturing process. Working with the EPA, Johnson & Johnson is striving to set a good example for other companies and reduce greenhouse gases. Striving to consistently help the American people is a serious goal, and Johnson & Johnson even went as far as registering the Red Cross as the U.S. trademark symbol for all medicinal and surgical plasters. This design has been recognized worldwide.
Today, Johnson & Johnson is the largest producer of Pharmaceuticals and medical devices, and is recognized as number 6 on the list of the Best Big-Company Stocks for Growth and Income as of 2008 and reported a market value of $181,615.1 million. They are third-largest biologics company in the world with 250 companies operating in 57 companies and employing 119,400 people. Currently, forty percent of their sales come from the pharmaceutical division but with the expiration of many patents in the upcoming decade, Johnson & Johnson expect sales in this division to drop down to thirty percent with the other ten percent being redistributed to their other divisions, mainly diagnostics and new product development.
In conclusion, Johnson & Johnson started off as a small family owned company with a mission to provide safe medical supplies to the injured and sick. The three Johnson brothers never imagined the monstrous influence they would have on both the medical industry and the United States economy. A largely successful company, that markets and develops such products as Pharmaceuticals, Medical devices, health care products, toiletries, and other items, they stand for ethical business responsibility in the marketplace. Johnson & Johnson’s mission, as they state, to invest in medical products, provide effective and compassionate healthcare, and discovering and developing new products while using accountable business practice has not only created a very successful corporation but has influenced and helped millions of consumers worldwide.
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